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Dr Adam Linson

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Computing & Communications at the Open University (UK). I develop neurobehavioural models of how perceptual uncertainty is resolved under stress and time pressure, in relation to impaired or enhanced cognitive flexibility. My research focus is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which I study using multiple methods that connect theoretical neurobiology, psychiatry, evolutionary ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. My work also links to other fields including cognitive science and music psychology. I was previously an Anniversary Fellow in Computing and Philosophy at the University of Stirling, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford and the UCL Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging.

I am also Co-Director of the Innogen Institute (connecting life science innovation and policymaking), based jointly at the Open University and the University of Edinburgh.

I am a team member of two current interdisciplinary research projects. One is on Art and Inequality in the Shadow of the Black Death, c.1275-1525 (€2.4 million ERC Advanced Grant, PI: Samuel Cohn, University of Glasgow), which combines medieval history, art history, inequality studies, and spatial digital humanities (GIS). The other project, Puzzled (£25,000 pilot funding, PI: Andrea English, University of Edinburgh), aims to provide educators with insights into student learning processes with a student privacy- and equity-centred approach to AI and Education that combines philosophy of education, learning science, computer vision, data visualisation, and interactive interfaces (HCI).

Apart from academic research, I perform and compose music across various contexts. My main instrument is the double bass, and current musical collaborations typically involve improvisation and digital media. In 2021, I was commissioned to compose a new work, partnering with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, that premiered live on BBC Radio 3. I continue to perform internationally at festivals, concert halls, clubs and galleries, and can be heard on a range of live and studio recordings.

Teaching interests

PhD supervision areas:

Current PhD students:

  • Andrea Bolzoni
  • Nikos Tzagkarakis
  • Anna Jędraszkiewicz (University of Warsaw) [pending]

Accepting new PhD students: yes


Active inference, stressors, and psychological trauma: A neuroethological model of (mal)adaptive explore-exploit dynamics in ecological context (2020-02-17)
Linson, Adam; Parr, Thomas and Friston, Karl J.
Behavioural Brain Research, 380, Article 112421

Zoocentrism in the weeds? Cultivating plant models for cognitive yield (2020)
Linson, Adam and Calvo, Paco
Biology & Philosophy, 35, Article 49(5)

Reframing PTSD for computational psychiatry with the active inference framework (2019)
Linson, Adam and Friston, Karl
Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 24(5) (pp. 347-368)

The Active Inference Approach to Ecological Perception: General Information Dynamics for Natural and Artificial Embodied Cognition (2018-03)
Linson, Adam; Clark, Andy; Ramamoorthy, Subramanian and Friston, Karl
Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 5, Article 21

A Subsumption Agent for Collaborative Free Improvisation (2015)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris; Lewis, George and Laney, Robin
Computer Music Journal, 39(4) (pp. 96-115)

The expressive stance: intentionality, expression, and machine art (2013-12)
Linson, Adam
International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 5(2) (pp. 195-216)

A parsimonious cognitive architecture for human-computer interactive musical free improvisation (2013)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 196 (pp. 219-224)

Distributed cognition, ecological theory and group improvisation (2017-12)
Linson, Adam and Clarke, Eric F.
In: Clarke, Eric F. and Doffman, Mark eds. Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music. Studies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice (pp. 52-69)
ISBN : 9780199355945 / 9780199355914 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : New York

Patterns of Sociohistorical Interaction Between Musical Identity and Technology (2017-02-23)
Linson, Adam
In: MacDonald, Raymond; Hargreaves, David and Miell, Dorothy eds. Handbook of Musical Identities. Oxford Scholarship Online (pp. 403-419)
ISBN : 9780199679485 | Publisher : Oxford University Press

Machine Art or Machine Artists?: Dennett, Danto, and the Expressive Stance (2016)
Linson, Adam
In: Müller, Vincent C. ed. Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Synthese Library (376) (pp. 443-458)
ISBN : 978-3-319-26485-1 | Publisher : Springer International Publishing | Published : Cham

Bringing Timbral Shapes to Interactive Music Systems (2023)
Bolzoni, Andrea; Willis, Alistair; Sharp, David; Linson, Adam and Laney, Robin
In : CHIME One Day Workshop 2023 (4 Dec 2023, The Open University, Milton Keynes)

Identifying Student Struggle by Analyzing Facial Movement During Asynchronous Video Lecture Viewing: Towards an Automated Tool to Support Instructors (2022-07-27)
Linson, Adam; Xu, Yucheng; English, Andrea R. and Fisher, Robert B.
(pp. 53-65)

Critical issues in evaluating freely improvising interactive music systems (2012-05-30)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
In : International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC) 2012 (30 May - 01 Jun 2012, Dublin, Ireland)

Improvisation without representation: artificial intelligence and music (2012-03-31)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
In : Music, Mind, and Invention Workshop: Creativity at the Intersection of Music and Computation (30-31 Mar 2012, Ewing, New Jersey, USA)

Interactive intelligence: behaviour-based AI, musical HCI and the Turing Test (2012)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
In : Revisiting Turing and his Test: Comprehensiveness, Qualia, and the Real World, Symposium no. 7 at AISB/IACAP World Congress 2012: Alan Turing Year 2012 (2-6 Jul 2012, Birmingham, UK)

Unnecessary constraints: a challenge to some assumptions of digital musical instrument design (2011-07-31)
Linson, Adam
In : International Computer Music Conference 2011 (31 Jul - 5 Aug 2011, University of Huddersfield, UK)