Saturday, July 27, 2013

ASSC 17 Student Poster Competition Winners

The ASSC student committee is pleased to announce the winners of the student poster competition. Prizes were awarded for three categories: philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Two winners were identified in each category. 

Some of the winners have chosen to make their posters available for download. Check them out and leave your thoughts below.



- Emma Peng Chien, "Interaction theory, individualism, and autism" [download]

[Department of Philosophy, University of Alberta, Canada]
Interaction theory is proposed to include what the individualistic approach, the dominant view in psychology, fails to include in the explanations of human minds (Gallagher, 2004; Gipps, 2004). What individualism fails to consider, suggested by interaction theorists, is the interpersonal elements, such as interactions between individuals, in accounting human psychology. By including the interpersonal elements in psychology, interaction theory shows a better accommodation of evidences from both developmental psychology and phenomenology. In addition, including the interpersonal elements in psychology also helps to provide a more comprehensive account of autism. Interaction theory can account for both the social and non-social traits of autism while the individualist view of autism, theory of mind, explains only the social traits of autism. These advantages suggest that interaction theory might be a better theory in psychology than the individualist approach. However, I think there are two main problems that the interaction theorists should worry about. First, the evidences used to support interaction theory are from psychologists who belong to the camp of the individualist approach. Second, the way interaction theorists understand autism is still individualistic. I suggest that these two problems of interaction theory must be solved or interaction theory is just another individualist theory in disguise. In this paper, I will discuss these two problems of interaction theory and propose possible remedies to rescue interaction theory.
*BONUS: Célya Gruson-Daniel, an openscience proponent and co-founder of HackYourPhD, has conducted an audio interview with Emma Peng Chien. Listen to it here: 

- Ting-An Lin, "What is the most fundamental unity of consciousness?" [download]

(with Allen Y. Houng). [National Yang-Ming University]
According to the classifications made by Tim Bayne (2010), there are four different kinds of unity of consciousness: subject unity, representational unity, access unity, and phenomenal unity. Among these unities of consciousness, Bayne asserts that the subject unity is trivial and takes the phenomenal unity to be the most fundamental one. However, I will use Allen Y. Houng's Unifying Process Model (UPM) of the self (2013) to argue that since the phenomenal unity presupposes the subject unity, the subject unity is the most fundamental unity which can never be disrupted. According to the UPM theory, self is a dynamical unifying process for unifying the interoceptive and the exteroceptive stimuli. Through unifying the interoceptive information, the self then constructs a point of view which can experience the world. All the information experienced by the point of view is thus unified to the same subject and give rise to the subject unity which makes all the conscious states are had by the same subject of experience at the same time. The formations of other unites, including the phenomenal unity, are based on the subject unity. By unifying more stimuli, the self then constructs a phenomenal field based on the formed point of view. All the experiences are subsumed by the phenomenal field and thus result in the phenomenal unity that makes the subject has an experience of “something it is like to be in all the conscious states at once”. The UPM theory analyzes the cause of the unity of consciousness and shows that the subject unity is the most fundamental unity.



- Akihiro Korecki [1], "Exaggerated self in schizophrenia evaluated by the sense of agency task" [download]

with Takaki Maeda [1], Hirotaka Fukushima [2], Tsukasa Okimura [1], Keisuke Takahata [3], Satoshi Umeda [4], Motoichiro Kato [1], and Masaru Mimura [1]. [1] Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine; [2] Faculty of Sociology, Kansai University; [3] Molecular Imaging Center, National Institute of Radiological Sciences; [4] Department of Psychology, Keio University School of Medicine
The sense of agency (SoA) is the attribution of oneself as the cause of one’s own actions and their effects. We have reported that patients with schizophrenia demonstrated excessive SoA using our original task where participants were asked whether they attributed the self as a cause of change in a visual stimulus, which exhibited a variable degree of temporal discrepancy with their own actions (Maeda et al., 2012). This task could evaluate both feeling and judgment components of SoA, and we previously discussed that judgment components would play a key role in over-attribution of agency. In order to intensively evaluate the contribution of judgment components, we revised our former SoA task. This study applied an “adaptation method” on a trial-by-trial basis. When a participant attributed self-agency to a certain temporal delay, the delay in the next trial was extended so that the individual was less likely to make a self-attribution. Conversely, the delay was shortened when the subject attributed to a “non-self” cause. This style makes their judgment difficult. Moreover participants were instructed to make a same styled color judgment as control task. Thirty patients with schizophrenia and 30 controls were enrolled in this study. We found that patients demonstrated extremely excessive SoA even in longer temporal delay. Uncertain task situation would induce pathological contributions of judgment component of SoA in schizophrenia, resulting in the exaggerated self. On the other hand, both groups showed normal color judgment, which means that their aberrant results are specific problem in sense of agency.
- Thomas Strandberg, "Using choice blindness to shift political attitudes and voter intentions" [download]

with Lars Hall [1], Petter Johansson [1, 2]. [1] Lund University Cognitive Science, Lund, Sweden; [2] Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies
Political candidates often believe they must focus their campaign efforts on a small number of swing voters open for ideological change. Based on the wisdom of opinion polls, this might seem like a good idea. But do most voters really hold their political attitudes so firmly that they are unreceptive to persuasion? We tested this premise during the most recent general election in Sweden, in which a left- and a right-wing coalition were locked in a close race. Our participants stated their voter intention, and answered a political survey of wedge issues between the two coalitions. Using a sleight-of-hand we then altered their replies to place them in the opposite political camp, and invited them to reason about their attitudes on the manipulated issues. Finally, we summarized their survey score, and asked for their voter intention again. The results showed that no more than 22% of the manipulated replies were detected, and that a full 92% of the participants accepted and endorsed our altered political survey score. Furthermore, the final voter intention question indicated that as many as 48% were willing to consider a left-right coalition shift. This can be contrasted with the established polls tracking the Swedish election, which registered maximally 10% voters open for a swing. Our results indicate that political attitudes can be far more flexible than what is assumed by the polls, and that people can reason about the factual issues of the campaign with considerable openness to change.


- Hyeong-Dong Park [1], "Heart-brain interactions shape visual consciousness"

with Stéphanie Correia [1], Antoine Ducorps [2], Catherine Tallon-baudry [1]. [1] Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, INSERM-ENS, 29 rue d’Ulm, Paris, France; [2] Cenir, CNRS-UPMC- INSERM, 47 Bd de l'Hôpital, Paris, France
Reporting "I saw the stimulus" is the hallmark of conscious vision, but where does the "I" come from? First-person perspective requires a minimal sense of the self that could be based on the neural representations of internal bodily signals. To test whether conscious perception could be predicted from bodily responses, we measured magnetoencephalographic brain responses to heartbeats in participants detecting a visual stimulus at threshold. Trials were classified as hits or misses based on participants' responses, and heartbeat evoked MEG responses were compared between the two types of trials. The amplitude of neural responses to heartbeats before stimulus onset predicted stimulus detection, in the viscerosensory insula, and in areas belonging to both the self-related and default-mode networks: right inferior parietal lobule and ventro-medial anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortices. EKG activity itself was not different between hit and miss trials and correction of cardiac artefact using ICA did not affect the results of heartbeat evoked MEG responses. Other measures of autonomic arousal and visual cortex excitability such as pupil diameter and parieto-occipital alpha power during prestimulus interval did not vary between hits and misses. Stimulus detection subsequently slowed down the heart, and this effect was predicted by prestimulus differential heartbeat evoked responses in ventro-medial cingulate and prefrontal cortices. Conscious vision therefore appears associated with bodily signal monitoring in the cortical self-related network.
- Karin Ludwig [1,2], "The relationship between depth of intraocular suppression and neural processing of visual object stimuli"

with Norbert Kathmann [2], Philipp Sterzer [1], Guido Hesselmann [1]. [1] Visual Perception Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Campus Charité Mitte, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; [2] Klinische Psychologie, Institut für Psychologie, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät II, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
A widely accepted theory in vision science concerns the functional specialization of the primate visual system into a dorsal ''vision-for-action'' and a ventral ''vision-for-perception'' stream. As opposed to processing in the dorsal stream, ventral stream processes are thought to be closely associated with visual awareness. Recent neuroimaging work that investigated this differential link to consciousness has yielded controversial results. One study reported reduced ventral activation for invisible stimuli (rendered invisible by continuous flash suppression, CFS) compared to visible stimuli while dorsal activation appeared unaffected by stimulus visibility (Fang & He, 2005). Others found equally reduced activity in response to invisible stimuli in both streams (Hesselmann & Malach, 2011). To resolve these conflicting results, we investigated category-selective blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activity in both visual streams as a function of stimulus visibility and depth of interocular suppression. As in previous studies, we used images of faces and tools to target ventral and dorsal stream processing, respectively. Target stimuli were shown to one eye while the other eye was either presented with CFS masks (invisible condition) or with a blank screen (visible condition). In the invisible condition, suppression strength was manipulated by varying the contrast of the CFS masks. Additionally, we asked whether dorsal stream responses to tool stimuli were related to their connection to visually guided action or rather to their specific (elongated) shape. To this aim, we compared BOLD responses to tools that were clearly manipulable but not elongated to activation to tools with an elongated shape.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Satellite: Perception and action in immersive worlds

Tuesday July 16 09:00-16:00

ASSC 17 and the 5D Institute Present: Perception and Action in Immersive Worlds

A Satellite Symposium Highlighting the Emerging Interface Between the Realms
of Human Perception and Action and Cutting-Edge Interactive and Immersive Media


Sergei Gepshtein PhD, Center for Neurobiology of Vision, The Salk Institute

Alex McDowell RDI, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California

This one-day symposium will celebrate and promote the rapidly growing interaction between two communities: researchers engaged in the scientific study of human perception and action and the practitioners of interactive and immersive narrative media technologies. Leading researchers and artists will discuss human behavior and conscious experience vis-à-vis physical, social, and imagined realities represented in purely virtual worlds, as well as in the 'mixed' worlds that interlace physical and virtual realities.

The symposium will comprise a series of sessions, each featuring two speakers: a scientist and an artist or immersive-reality practitioner. The speakers will first present their approaches and then review both existing and prospective links between their domains of expertise. Following each session, generous time will be devoted to questions from the audience.


Thomas Albright - Director, Vision Center Laboratory and Conrad T. Prebys Chair in Vision Research, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Nonny de la Peña - Fellow, Interactive Media Arts Department, USC; Documentary Filmmaker and Journalist

Tracy Fullerton - Electronic Arts Endowed Chair of Interactive Entertainment and Director of the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab, School of Cinematic Arts, USC

Sergei Gepshtein - Center for the Neurobiology of Vision, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Perry Hoberman - Center for Stereoscopic 3D, School for Cinematic Arts, USC

Michael Kubovy - Dep’t of Psychology, University of Virginia

Greg Lynn - Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA; Principal, Greg Lynn Form

Alex McDowell - Director, World Building Media Lab and Creative Director, 5D Institute, School of Cinematic Arts, USC

Howard Poizner - Institute for Neural Computation, UCSD

Monday, July 15, 2013

Symposium 4: Detecting covert awareness

Monday July 15 16:30-18:30

Ethical implications of detecting covert awareness in disorders of consciousness

Chairs: Adrian M. Owen (Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging, Western University, Ontario, CA),
Andrew Peterson (Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University, Ontario, CA)

Recent findings in cognitive neuroscience (Monti et al .2010, Owen et al.2006) suggest that functional mag- netic resonance imaging (fMRI) may be a viable means for detecting covert awareness in the vegetative state (VS). This research opens a promising new avenue for developing brain-computer interfaces (Naci et al. 2012) that compliment the current diagnostic criteria of disorders of consciousness (DOC), thereby increasing the effectiveness of diagnostic screening in this patient group. Given the high rate of misdiagno- sis in this population (Andrews et al. 1996, Childs et al. 1993), actively seeking out patients, who retain conscious awareness despite a clinical diagnosis of VS, is of the highest importance. Moreover, this tech- nique may also permit patients, who are consciously aware and have high levels of preserved cognition, to meaningfully engage in the decision making process related to their own medical care. To date, one patient, previously diagnosed as vegetative for approximately five years, was able to successfully answer a series of autobiographical ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions correctly overrepeated fMRI scanning sessions (Montietal.2010).

A natural step forward in this research program, therefore, is to apply similar neuroimaging methods to address medical questions relevant to individual DOC patients (Peterson et al. in preparation). Though these scientific findings appear highly promising in principle, incorporating any neuroimaging--based method into clinical setting will require satisfaction of established ethical and legal norms of medical practice. In particular, these concerns include: determining how information acquired from such techniques will be disclosed to patients’ families, what the cost of running such tests will be, whether any individual DOC patient is capable of making medically relevant decisions with these techniques, and what type of ques- tions we ought to be asking this patient population. We propose a symposium that brings together three different perspectives on this problem: neuroscience, neurology, and clinical ethics.

The first perspective, offered by Drs. Lorina Naci PhD and Daniel Bor PhD, both neuroscientists working with these neuroimaging paradigms, will shed light on practical obstacles and ways forward focusing neuroimaging to assess residual cognition in DOC patients.

The second perspective, offered by Dr. Bryan Young MD, a clinical neurologist working directly with this patient group, will highlight the difficulties as well as the potential that neuroim- aging holds for DOC patients in the medical setting.

Finally, Dr. Charles Weijer MD, PhD and Andrew Peterson MA, both medical ethicists and philosophers of science, will offer views on the overarching ethical standards relevant to this research. Dr. Adrian M. Owen, a neuroscientist working in this field, will chair the session.

We hope that this interdisciplinary approach will facilitate a novel and productive conversation about the merits of this research and future directions for using it in the clinical setting.

Using fMRI to assess conscious awareness in patients with disorders of consciousness– practical considerations
Lorina Naci (Experimental Psychology, Western University, Ontario, CA)

Using multiple neuroimaging techniques to assess the quality of conscious awareness in DOC patients
Daniel Bor (Cognitive Neuroscience, Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K.)

Obstacles at the interface between advances in cognitive neuroscience and clinical practice
Bryan Young (Neurology and Critical Care Medicine, Western University, Ontario, CA)
Conceptual foundations for assessing decision-making capacity in disorders of consciousness
Andrew Peterson (Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University, Ontario, CA)

Navigating the transition between research and treatment when integrating novel neuroimaging techniques in medical practice
Charles Weijer (Bioethics, Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University, Ontario, CA)

Sessions 3.3: Miscellaneous

Monday July 15 12:30-14:30

Concurrent Session C3.3: Miscellaneous

1. Using Training to Simulate Synaesthesia in Adulthood
Daniel Bor [1,2], Nicolas Rothen [1,3], David Schwartzman [1,2], Stephanie Clayton [1], Jamie Ward[1,3], Anil Seth [1,2]
[1] Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
[2] Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
[3] Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, United Kingdom

2. The cortical excitability and neurochemical markers of visual cognition in synaesthesia
D. B. Terhune & R. Cohen Kadosh
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford

3. A neural marker of perceptual consciousness in infants
Sid Kouider [1,2], Carsten Stahlhut [2], Sofie V. Gelskov [1,3], Leonardo S. Barbosa [1], Michel Dutat [1], Vincent de Gardelle [1], Anne Christophe [1], Stanislas Dehaene [4-7], and Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz [5-7]
[1] Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, EHESS/CNRS/ENS-DEC, Paris, France
[2] Section for Cognitive Systems, Department of informatics and mathematical modeling, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
[3] Danish Research Center for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark
[4] Collège de France, 75231 Paris, France
[5] INSERM, U992, Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, 91191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
[6] CEA, NeuroSpin Center, 91191, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
[7] Université Paris XI, 91405, Orsay, France

4. Seeing with your heart: Can you feel what you consciously do not notice?
Piotr Winkielman [1], Boris Bornemann [2], Andy Arnold [3]
[1] University of California, San Diego
[2] Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
[3] The Salk Institute

5. Do subjective, objective and indirect measures of perception reflect qualitatively different mechanisms?
Dominique Lamy
Cognitive Psychology, Tel Aviv University

6. Measuring the level of consciousness in flies with integrated information
Naotsugu Tsuchiya [1,6], Dror Cohen [1], Agelique Paulk [2], Masafumi Oizumi [3,4], Paul Shaw [5], Bruno van Swinderen [2]
[1] Monash University, Australia
[2] University of Queensland, Australia
[3] RIKEN, Japan
[4] University of Wisconsin, USA
[5] Washington University, [6] Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan

Sessions 3.2: Consciousness, self, and unity

Monday July 15 12:30-14:30

Concurrent Session C3.2: Consciousness, Self and Unity (July 15th 1230-1430)

1. Re-Thinking the Unity of Consciousness
Robert van Gulick
Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Syracuse University

2. Attention and the Problem of Unity
Carolyn Dicey Jennings
University of Antwerp

3. From Darwin to Freud: Confabulation as an adaptive response to dysfunctions of self-consciousness
Paula Droege
Pennsylvania State University

4. Intersection of perception and cognition & cross-modal experiences: New insights into unified consciousness
Aleksandra Mroczko-Wąsowicz
Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

5. I am what I am
Shimon Edelman [1], Tomer Fekete [2]
[1] Dept. of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
[2] Dept. of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

6. Tracking Persons Over Time is Tracking What?
Andrew Brook
Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Carleton University

Sessions 3.1: Consciousness, access, and subjective confidence

Monday July 15 12:30-14:30

Concurrent Session C3.1: Consciousness, Access, and Subjective Confidence (July 15th 1230-1430)

1. Categorical judgments in visual overflow
Ken Mogi
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Tokyo

2. Expectations accelerate entry into awareness
Yair Pinto [1], Anil K. Seth [1], Simon van Gaal [2], Victor A.F. Lamme [2], Floris P. de Lange [3]
[1] Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom
[2] Brain and Cognition group, Psychology department, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
[3] Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands

3. Generic Phenomenology and Partial Report Paradigms
Henry Shevlin
Graduate Center of the City University of New York

4. Cross-modal prediction changes the timing of conscious access during the motion-induced blindness
Acer Yu-Chan Chang [1,2], Ryota Kanai [1,3], Anil Seth [1,2]
[1] Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QJ, UK
[2] Department of Informatisc, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QJ, UK
[3] Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QJ, UK

5. Subliminal oddball ERP effects: Psychophysiological evidence for complex unconscious processing
Brian Silverstein [1], Michael Snodgrass [1], Ramesh Kushwaha [2], Howard Shevrin [1]
[1] Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Health Center
[2] Department of Neurology, University of Michigan Hospital

6. The effect of stimulus strength on subjective confidence
Stephen M. Fleming [1,2], W.S. Sophie Tam [3], Laurence T. Maloney [1,3]
[1] Center for Neural Science, New York University
[2] Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
[3] Department of Psychology, New York University

Symposium 3: Beyond the contrastive method

Monday July 15 09:30-11:30

Beyond the contrastive method: How to separate the neural correlates of consciousness from its precursors and consequences

Chair: Lucia Melloni (Dep’t of Neurophysiology, MPI Frankfurt, DE/Columbia University)

The most prevalent approach to study the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) today is to contrast conditions in which conscious perception occurs with conditions in which it does not. Here, conscious- ness is treated as the dependent variable and then correlated with brain activity. This “contrastive method” has brought about important insights into the NCC. However, despite this apparently straight- forward approach, results are inconclusive and contradictory (e.g., it is still debated whether the NCC occurs early or late, or whether it is expressed in local or distributed brain activity). This discord can be understood when considering a methodological pitfall in the contrastive method: The contrast between conscious perception and unconscious processing confounds the NCC with processes that necessarily precede and follow conscious perception (pre-NCC and post-NCC, respectively) without directly contrib- uting to subjective experience.

It is not straightforward to arbitrate which previous results address the NCC-proper and which reflect other processes. In this symposium we will outline the shortcomings of the contrastive analysis, put forward a new taxonomy that differentiates the processes besetting the NCC- proper, and propose novel experimental approaches to dissociate the NCC-proper from its antecedents and consequences. We review M-EEG and ECOG studies that have employed these new approaches to probe which neural process directly correspond to the NCC. This evidence suggests that previous results may have indeed missed the NCC and reported pre-NCC/post-NCCs. Finally, we will discuss how this new taxonomy relates to prevalent theories of consciousness, arguing that some theories might be about post-NCCs instead of NCC.

Distilling the Neural Correlates of Consciousness
Lucia Melloni (Dep’t of Neurophysiology, MPI Frankfurt/Columbia University)

Using MEG to track conscious access and its non-conscious consequences
Stanislas Dehaene, Lucie Charles (Inserm-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, Paris, FR)

Isolating NCCs that are necessary and sufficient for visual awareness
Michael Pitts (Dep’t of Psychology, Reed College)

Core vs. Total NCC
Ned Block (Dep’t of Philosophy, New York University)