ASSC 16 tutorials will be held on the sea front in the most historic hotel in Brighton,
the Old Ship Hotel 31-38 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 1NR
------------------Morning Tutorials ------------------
|TUTORIAL 2: “Sensory substitution" Summary
Sensory substitution devices convert information relating to one sensory signal into another signal: typically visual information is converted into touch or sound. This has practical consequences (e.g. for the blind) as well as raising deep scientific and philosophical questions (e.g. relating to neural plasticity, and the relationship between visual information and visual conscious experience).
In the first part of the tutorial, different devices will be considered starting from the seminal work of Bach-y-Rita to the present day (e.g. attempts to create a magnetic sense). There will be an opportunity to interact with some of these devices.
In the second part of the tutorial, evidence from psychology and neuroscience will be presented concerning performance-based and brain-based measures of the functioning of these devices. The third part of the tutorial focuses on the phenomenological reports of users of these devices and theoretical attempts to account for them (e.g. sensory-motor theories of visual experience).
|TUTORIAL 3: "A primer on experimental hypnosis research" Summary
The study of hypnosis can provide valuable information regarding the nature of consciousness.
Investigating responses to hypnotic suggestions in highly suggestible individuals can yield numerous insights into agency, cognitive control, and conscious awareness. Hypnosis can also be used in an instrumental manner to systematically induce, disrupt, or otherwise alter a host of processes related to consciousness. In turn, hypnosis can aid us in investigating different phenomena that are otherwise difficult to experimentally manipulate in a laboratory setting. The central aim of this tutorial is to give a broad introduction to experimental hypnosis research.
First, I will first provide a brief history of hypnosis and introduce the instruments and procedures used by hypnosis researchers. I will devote considerable time to the measurement of hypnotic suggestibility and discuss the developmental and genetic determinants of hypnotic suggestibility and assess evidence for its cognitive and personality correlates. Next, I will describe and weigh the evidence for different theories of hypnosis and review research bearing on the cognitive and neural basis of hypnotic responding.
Finally, I will conclude by outlining the use of hypnosis as an experimental technique for studying consciousness and describe how it can be utilized to investigate different research questions.
The tutorial will be divided into two sections interrupted by a short break. The first part will provide a broad introduction to hypnosis with a focus on the measurement of hypnotic suggestibility and its correlates and determinants as well as research designs used in the field. The second part of the tutorial will cover recent findings regarding the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying a hypnotic induction, response to hypnotic suggestions and different theories of hypnosis. I will conclude this part by describing the instrumental use of hypnosis for the study of consciousness. I describe these two parts in turn.
Next, I will turn to the response characteristics of individuals who are highly suggestible with a focus on involuntariness and verisimilitude during hypnotic responses. Following these topics, I will describe the current state of the evidence regarding the developmental and genetic determinants of hypnotic suggestibility. I will then describe research investigating potential cognitive (e.g., suggestibility) and personality (e.g., absorption) correlates of hypnotic suggestibility. I will conclude this part of the tutorial by describing different research designs used in experimental hypnosis research such as the real-simulator and surreptitious observer designs and illustrate how they can be used.
This part of the tutorial will focus on different theories of hypnosis, the available evidence regarding its neurocognitive mechanisms, and the use of hypnosis as an experimental technique for studying other phenomena.
I will begin by providing a broad overview of the assumptions of sociocognitive and dissociation theories of hypnosis. I will devote considerable time to the major theories of hypnosis as well as more recent cognitive and neurophysiological models of hypnosis. Next, I will outline the current evidence regarding the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying response to a hypnotic induction and to particular hypnotic suggestions.
The final part of the tutorial will cover the experimental application of hypnosis. First, I will outline the assumptions and guiding principles of instrumental hypnosis research with a focus on the strengths and limitations of using hypnosis as an experimental method. I will conclude the tutorial with a detailed description of the utilization of hypnosis for the study of consciousness. I will outline how hypnosis can be used in this manner and provide examples taken from hypnosis research on agency, awareness, attention and perception.
Finally, I will conclude by considering with the attendees how hypnosis could be used to address different research questions.
------------------Afternoon Tutorials ------------------
|TUTORIAL 5: “ The Science of Magic: Turning magic into Science!" Summary
Over the centuries, magicians have developed extensive knowledge about how to manipulate our conscious experience; knowledge that has been largely ignored by science. However, in recent years, steps have been taken towards utilizing this knowledge to further our understanding of human cognition and consciousness. In previous ASSC symposium and tutorial, the case was made for a close collaboration between magicians and scientists. In this tutorial we will go further and show how such collaboration can serve as the foundation for a science of magic, and present an explicit framework. Illustrations are given in broad terms about how this science might work in practice, including a description of the kinds of contributions that would be considered valuable.
In the second section, we will examine how a science of magic can provide us with new tools and perspectives from which to investigate the nature of perception, cognition, and human experience. We will explore the things that can we learn from the perceptual and cognitive effects that magicians have developed? How can we use magic as a tool to investigate psychological processes? How can magical effects be used to investigate belief systems? What can the experiential states generated by observing magic effects tell us about human experience? What can we learn from the magician’s expertise in motor control? We will conclude that there are numerous areas in which magic is not merely a sufficient, but a necessary way of investigation.
Warm up: Magic Demonstration (10 min)
The science of Magic Framework (30 min)
Possible contributions to the science of magic (30 min)
Discussion (15 min)Break (15 minutes)
Warm up: Magic Demonstration (5min)
Contributions from a Science of Magic (60 min)
Discussion (15 minutes)
|TUTORIAL 6: “Meditation and consciousness: Two ways meditation can contribute to consciousness science" Summary
There are two ways in which formal meditation may contribute to consciousness studies.
0.00 Introduction. Two ways meditation research can contribute to consciousness studies.
0.10 Meditation exercise 1: Ten minutes calming the mind.
0.25 Physiology of meditation: breathing, arousal, blood O2, CO2 etc. levels, significance for claims of relaxation and stress reduction. Brain function changes, PET, fMRI, problems and implications. Meditation as training attention.
1.00 Meditation exercise 2: Ten minutes watching the breath, with timing exercise
1.30 break (optional – practicing mindfulness during the break)
1.50 Meditation as disciplined introspection. A possible contribution of first-person practice?
2.15 Meditation exercise 3: Brief koan practice and discussion
2.30 Implications for current theories of consciousness
2.50 Final discussion
|TUTORIAL 7: “Neurosurgery and its role in the study of consciousness" Summary
Clinical neurosurgery has historically played an important role in the development of neuroscience and the science of consciousness. This tutorial is an introduction to the scope of contemporary neurosurgical practice, modern neurosurgical techniques and their relevance to consciousness research in the 21st century.
|TUTORIAL 8: “The phenomenology, neurobiology, and neurocognitive basis of depersonalization " Summary
We will explore the phenomenology, neurobiology, and neurocognitive basis of depersonalization. According to psychoanalytic theory, dissociation is a defence mechanism that keeps unwanted, anxiety-provoking thoughts and impulses from entering consciousness. Dissociation is a psychological state where certain thoughts, emotions, sensations, or memories are separated from the rest of the psyche. The DSM-IV-TR defines dissociation as “a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity or perception”, and specifies five dissociative disorders, one of which is depersonalization disorder (DPD). DPD is characterized by persistent or recurring feelings of detachment or disconnection from one’s own mental processes, emotions, and/or body resulting from a distorted self-perception. Frequently, depersonalization is accompanied by derealization, a sense that one’s external surroundings are unfamiliar or that the world is ‘unreal’. However, people experiencing depersonalization and derealization retain full reality testing surrounding their perceptually altered experiences, i.e. they are not delusional.
Across psychiatric disorders, depersonalization symptoms are common, yet how these disturbances of self-experience interact with other aspects of mental state, such as post-traumatic, affective, or psychotic symptoms, is little studied. We will discuss studies from psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive neuroscience that are beginning to elucidate the neural basis of depersonalization. While primary DPD will be our main focus, we will also discuss the relevance of recent research findings in DPD with reference to literature on both healthy and pathological mental states, in particular the potential importance of depersonalization symptoms in the genesis of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.