• Ph.D. Experimental Psychology

  • M.Sc. Cognitive Sciences

  • B.Sc. Psychology

Full-time associate professor

  • Department of ​​Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences at the School of Psychology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM.

Member of the Cognitive Robotics Laboratory, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, UAEM.

My research focuses on the study of perceptual, predictive, attentional, and emotional mechanisms under the embodied cognition framework.



I am very happy to share our Embodied Cognitive Sciences web page which is a collaborative project that started in 2021 with my students from the School of Psychology, UNAM. The main aim of this project is to share our passion for analyzing, discussing, and trying to understand cognition from an embodied, grounded, and situated perspective.

* Página web sobre Ciencias Cognitivas Corporizadas completamente en español:


Winner of the best presentation “Blankies” sponsored by Nested Minds Network

Social Media Platforms: Trading with Prediction Error Minimization for your Attention

16th October at 11:30 AM - EDT

Culture exploits the acquisition of meaningful content by crafting regimes of shared attention, determining what is relevant, valuable, and salient. Culture changes the field of relevant social affordances worthy of being acted upon in a context-sensitive manner. When relevant affordances are highly weighted, their salience increases the probability of it being enacted, and as a consequence, their associated prediction error is minimized. This process is known as active inference. In the digital era, individuals need to infer the action-related attributes of digital cues, here characterized as digital affordances. The digital affordances of social media platforms are of particular interest here. By their own nature, these are salient because they are related to social interactions and relevant social cues. However, the problem around social network platforms is that they are not equivalent to situated social interactions because their structure is built, mediated, and defined by third-parties with diverse interests. The third-parties behind the social media platforms are using the same mechanism exploited by culture to manipulate the shared patterns of attention. Moreover, these social media platforms are deliberately designed to be hyper-stimulating, making them dangerously rewarding and increasingly addictive. As we will show, the outcome is a growing risk of our online social interactions disrupting our long-term adaptivity. This appropriation, for economic purposes, is an issue of greater importance, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic brought deep global changes pushing societies to an online digital way of life. In this paper, we examine digital instrumental actions as well as digital epistemic actions afforded by social media in light of the prediction error dynamics they might elicit to their users. This paper aims to analyze, under the active inference framework, how the field of relevant affordances is changing as a product of the use of social network platforms. Specifically, how social network platforms are changing the patterns of attention, affecting the way beliefs are updated, how social norms are learned, and how self-identity is built. Changes in the field of relevant affordances as a product of economic purposes may be putting at risk our context-sensitive grip on a rich, dynamic and varied field of relevant affordances.

Conferencia y proyección del documental “Nueva Inteligencia Artificial: Robótica Cognitiva”

Jueves 7 de octubre 2021 a las 17:30h

Participan: Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi (UNAM), Margarita Flores (INMEDIA), Dionisio Meade García de León (Fundación UNAM) y Especialistas invitados Dr. Bruno Lara Guzmán (Responsable del laboratorio de Robótica Cognitiva, UAEM), Dra. Alejandra Ciria Fernández Varela (Inv. de la Facultad de Psicología, UNAM y Colaboradora del laboratorio de Robótica Cognitiva, UAEM), Dr. Luis Alberto Pineda Cortés (Ciencias de la Computación, IIMAS-UNAM).

Documental dirigido por: Jaime Kuri

Transmisión en vivo por TV UNAM @tvunam

El evento también se transmitirá por:

XVI Curso de Actualización en Psicobiología y Neurociencias: "Neurociencias Cogintivas"

Thursday September 30 (10:00 - 12:00 hrs, CT)

Conectividad funcional y los procesos cognitivos

"La percepción como un problema de inferencia: evidencia de la corteza visual primaria"

Dra. Alejandra Ciria

Happy to announce our recent publication in Neural Computation!

Ciria, A., Schillaci, G., Pezzulo, G., Hafner, V., & Lara, B. (2021). Predictive Processing in Cognitive Robotics: A Review. Neural Computation, 33(5): 1402–1432. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/neco_a_01383


Call for papers!

I would like to announce a special issue on "Prediction and Perception in Humans and Robots" for the journal IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems.

The general topic revolves around perceptual optimization processes related to attentional and predictive mechanisms.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Guest editors:

  • Alejandra Ciria

  • Guido Schillaci

  • Bruno Lara

  • Emily S. Cross

  • Angelo Cangelosi