Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal

Ruth Byrne was awarded the Royal Irish Academy 2021 Gold Medal in Social Sciences, which was presented by the Taoiseach in the Provost’s house in Trinity in April 2022.

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Painting and imagination

Ruth Byrne was invited by the National Gallery of Ireland’s Head Curator, Dr Brendan Rooney, and curator of Irish Art, Donal Maguire, to collaborate in the Jack B Yeats “Painting and Memory” exhibition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Her article ‘Imaginative Cognition in the Paintings of Jack B Yeats’ was published in the “Jack B Yeats Painting and Memory” Exhibition Companion Book (2021, National Gallery of Ireland).

The National Gallery of Ireland podcast series includes a podcast of her conversation with Brendan Rooney on memory and imagination in Yeats’s paintings.

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Some recent talks

How people reason with counterpossible conditionals – Ruth Byrne, 28th Conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Leipzig, Germany (online), 30th Aug-2nd Sept 2021.

Panel speaker – Ruth Byrne, 38th International Conference on Machine Learning, Workshop on Algorithmic Recourse (online), 24th July 2021.

Counterfactual explanations in explainable AI – Greta Warren, Molly Quinn, Ruth Byrne, and Mark Keane. Cognitive Science Society 43rd Annual Conference, Vienna, Austria (online), 27th-30th July 2021.

How people reason with counterpossibles- Ruth Byrne, International Thinking Conference, Paris, France (online), 21st-25th June 2021.

Human counterfactual imagination – Ruth Byrne, British University of Egypt, Research Centre for Irish Studies, Cairo, Eygpt (online), 28th May 2021.

The psychology of counterfactual explanations in XAI – Ruth Byrne, Information Science and Technology Institute, Pisa, Italy (online), 15th June 2021.

How people understand and reason with counterpossibles- Ruth Byrne, Logic of Conceivability Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands (online), 7th-9th June, 2021.

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Counterfactual reasoning in Science

Ruth gave a talk on “how people reason with counterpossible and counterfactual conditionals” at the Workshop on Counterfactual Reasoning in Science at Birmingham University on 25th March

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Talk at the Algorithmic Recourse meeting

Ruth Byrne and Mark Keane gave a talk at the Algorithmic Recourse in Machine Learning meeting on “Counterfactuals in XAI: Human and Computational Studies” – the schedule, recordings, and slides are available at:

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Welcome to Dai!

Xinyue Dai started her PhD on 1st September, carrying out research on counterfactual explanations for Artificial Intelligence decision support systems in smart agriculture, funded by a Teagasc Walsh PhD scholarship. Her project is part of a collaboration between Ruth Byrne, Mark Keane (UCD Computer Science), Laurence Shalloo and Elodie Ruelle (Teagasc).
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How do people decide to do the right thing?

Shane Timmons and I write on how to overcome cognitive biases that affect moral decisions to make sacrifices of relevance to staying home during the Covid-19 pandemic – moral hindsight, moral fatigue, counterfactual amplification and more in Psychology Today, link here

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PhD opportunity: Deadline 30th April

The deadline to apply to do a PhD on human explanation funded by a Teagasc Walsh scholarship is 30th April.


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Funded PhD opportunity

Here’s a funded PhD opportunity to work with me in Trinity on counterfactual explanations in Explainable AI, in a great project with Mark Keane from UCD, and Laurence Shalloo and Elodie Ruelle from Teagasc, on AI decision support systems for agriculture. Details here.

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Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making in Autism

Kinga Morsanyi and I have co-edited a book on “Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making in Autism“, published by Routledge this week.


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