Poster Sessions II

Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM

  • PS 2.1. Philosophy II
  • PS 2.2. Science II

PS 2.1. Philosophy II

 

Most Important Insights About Consciousness

Nathan Batalion, Philosophy, Interpretation & Culture (PIC) Department, Binghamton University, USA

Akin to the experience of Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist at Harvard who had a stroke and then shared the experience (You-Tube presentation "How It Feels To Have A Stroke") I was a math prodigy with a philosophic bent who later suffered a left-brain meltdown. I had a high fever and suddenly became aphasic (unable to speak in whole sentences and think mathematically). The odds of being a prodigy and later developing aphasia (plus recovering) are so minuscule I may be the only person on Earth able to communicate such a joint experience. In the process my whole worldview changed “day and night.” The most important insight was that the flow between my brain hemispheres or “consciousness” was my life’s essence. To fail to understand this risked not fathoming what kept me alive or prevented serious ailments in me, others, and nature. Functionally, however, what was this consciousness really? Because it ties us to everything, consciousness’ definition may appear impossible to close in on. Philosophers and scientists have tried brilliantly to outline its functions, metaphysics, contents, aspects, qualia, and neural correlates. However, my second key insight appeared as such a closing in. I saw how consciousness forms a universal relationship of connection, again both within myself, others and nature. To be conscious of X was simply to connect to X. As childishly simple as this may sound, this has revolutionary implications. For example, nothing was more absolutely certain for me than using math symbols to gain truths. After this aphasia, that belief was broken. A third key insight arose that math symbols, demythologized, are tools for separating elements of consciousness. In evolving physics and chemistry they do not guide us towards consciousness’ essence. If too deeply used to redesign nature mechanically, we also create eco-crises that threaten life. Not surprisingly, we further see epidemics like life-threatening cancers. Such dark shadows, amid explosive technological progress, are anomalies. Inescapable anomalies force us to challenge and change core paradigms. Here there is a hope of rescuing ourselves and the planet, and as we move towards a higher integrity and depth of understanding.

  • Keywords: Metaphysics of Consciousness, Panpsychism, Mathematics, Hard Problem
  • Corresponding Email: naturolism@gmail.com
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Consciously Accessible Beliefs and Practical Reasoning

Timothy Chan, School of Philosophy, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom

This paper investigates the distinctive mode in which an agent’s beliefs are consciously accessible to him-/herself. Most of our beliefs are accessible to consciousness. While we are at any one time conscious only of very few of our beliefs, normally we can become aware of a belief simply by directing our conscious attention to its subject matter. There are, however, significant exceptions, with some beliefs being inaccessible to its agent, for example due to self-deception. In these cases, the overall pattern of the agent’s action shows that he lacks the belief which he sincerely professes to have. Many propositional attitudes are similar in being generally, but not always, consciously accessible. What is distinctive about belief is that, as Evans writes, we become conscious of them by ‘directing our eyes outward’. When asked ‘Do you believe that p?’, we normally answer (with sound warrant) by considering whether p is the case. As Moran observes, this characteristic of belief, which he calls transparency, is highlighted by the fact that Moore-Paradoxical assertions of the form ‘p but I do not believe that p’ or ‘p but I believe that not-p’ express absurd beliefs. Such beliefs may well be true, but seem to be as obviously rationally defective as the contradictory ‘p and not-p’. By contrast, ‘Dangers abound here but I feel no fear’ is not similarly absurd. (It may be an expression of courage.) The irrationality of Moorean beliefs, I argue, can be accounted for by considering the different roles played in practical reasoning and action by transparent beliefs and unconscious (i.e. not consciously accessible) ones. Both kinds of belief function as premises in practical reasoning which rationalizes the agent’s actions, but the reasoning is seen by the agent as his own only when its key premises are consciously accessible to him in a transparent manner. Transparent beliefs are thus, I suggest, essentially involved in intentional actions which are fully endorsed by the agent. I conclude by indicating some implications of this account for the relationship between consciousness and rational agency, as well as the metaphysics of belief.

  • Keywords: Belief, Moore's Paradox, practical reasoning, action, agency
  • Corresponding Email: timothy.chan@uea.ac.uk
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

A Confusion of the Term "Subjectivity" in the Philosophy of Mind

Chienchih Chi, Philosophy, Huafan University, Taiwan

Through this paper, I would like to argue that unlike the mental concepts ”pain” and ”red”, the concept “subjectivity” is a reducible concept. My main reason is that we cannot find any subjective phenomenon or quale that especially belongs to “subjectivity.” Although we say that all types of qualia or subjective phenomena have subjectivity, there is no similarity among them except that they are all subjective. I think this “subjective” is the only place where we know about “subjectivity.” In addition, I argue that this “subjective” can be explained by a self-detection mechanism, which can refer to nothing subjective.
Through this argument, I suggest that the term “subjectivity” is a misleading concept in the discussion of the philosophy of mind. We have to separate the problems between quale and subjectivity. The quality of mental phenomena may result in a real problem in the philosophy of mind. However, since the term “subjectivity” can refer to nothing subjective, there is no real problem in the problem of subjectivity.

  • Keywords: consciousness, subjectivity, reduction
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Can Mary Know What She Is Not Aware of?

Chien-Hui Chiu, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

The ability hypothesis (hereby AH) refutes the conclusion from the knowledge argument (Jackson 1982) that there are facts about the world that Mary, the hypothetical scientist who has complete knowledge of all physical facts, could learn only after being released from her black and white room to experience colors (eg.red) for the first time. To AH advocates, the phenomenal “knowledge” that “ ’this’ is what it’s like to see red” is actually a set of abilities that are gained and exercised when Mary perceives red. She is aware of what it’s like by being able to actively imagine, remember and recognize this particular shade of red (Lewis 1988, Nemirow 2007) . Therefore, there is no phenomenal “knowledge” on a par with physical knowledge, and therefore, no newly learnt phenomenal facts.

The sense of knowledge in AH refers to the "awareness" of “what is it like to be” instead of the raw feeling itself. Subjects impaired in their know-how abilities would still enjoy “what it’s like to be” experiences, though the capability to visually entertain and be aware of them is lost with the abilities (Nemirow 2007).

I will argue that if there are no new knowledge learned, but only new abilities gained when Mary becomes aware of “what it is like to see red,” AH can not explain that there still is a fact about the world-the “what” it ‘s like to be that is acquired only out of Mary’s room- that is neither learned in the room nor a part of the abilities. Ned Block has argued from psychological and neurophysiologic evidence that there can be phenomenal experiences inaccessible and non-reportable to the experiencing subject. Sperling’s memory task shows that this knowledge can be made aware of or accessible by means of special cues (Block 2007).

Therefore, phenomenal facts known to the subject may be consciously inaccessible, on a par with the physical facts known by Mary when she is currently not aware of them, though the facts are known to her at all times.

That the knowledge of phenomenal facts still exist even though the subject is unaware of them holds implications for other opponents of the knowledge argument that base their arguments on whether the subject could be introspectively aware of their phenomenal states.

  • Keywords: Ability Hypothesis, Knowledge Argument, Phenomenal Consciousness
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Change Blindness, Choice Blindness and Dream Logic

Ilya Farber, School of Social Science, Singapore Mgmt University, Singapore

In previous work, I have argued that change blindness can best be understood as a consequence of the recurrent dynamical structure of the neural architecture underlying consciousness. More specifically, I interpret CB not as the failure of some (as yet unobserved) “change detection” mechanism, but as a failure of anomaly detection in the process of incorporating sensory updates into a dynamically maintained inner world-model. At ASSC10, I used this approach to investigate the temporal dynamics of CB and the contextual cues which might facilitate or suppress it. This time, I will use it to shed some light on two seemingly disparate phenomena: the tolerance of certain bizarre cognitive incongruities in dreams, and the “choice blindness” paradigm of Johansson et al. (2005). In each case, the key is to remember that “higher-order” or non-sensory features (e.g. senses of ownership or agency, preference, familiarity, identity, moral or logical acceptability) have no magic way of bypassing the binding problem: regardless of how they’re generated, such feature representations can only have appropriate causal impact on the stream of consciousness if they are bound into a dynamic coalition with the other features which jointly constitute a conscious percept. With respect to choice blindness, I suggest that this approach can help to reconcile Johansson et al.’s finding that confabulatory reports are statistically near-indistinguishable from the reports of control subjects (on a variety of measures) with the natural intuition that there must be something more than confabulation going on when normal people report the recent contents of their own consciousness. In particular, I predict that looking at interactions between features of the subjects’ reports and features of their (really or allegedly) chosen pictures may reveal patterns which are invisible to the authors’ current method of analysis. With respect to dreams – and, more speculatively, to the similarly bizarre fantasies which some otherwise rational fronto-parietal patients produce in response to their deficits – I suggest that a key factor may be the relative statistical independence of the abovementioned “higher-order” features from the lower-order sensory features which make up the bulk of most conscious percepts, a consequence of the sensitivity of the former to potentially very fine distinctions among the latter.

  • Keywords: choice blindness, change blindness, confabulation
  • Corresponding Email: ilya@reductio.com
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

A Defense of Noe’s Vehicle Externalism

Ta-Lun Huang, Philosophy, University of California, Riverside, United States

In Action in Perception, Noe proposes a controversial theory of perceptual experiences. He argues for the two theses: (1) the sensory-motor knowledge thesis: perceptual experiences are constituted by the exercise of sensory-motor know-how knowledge, and (2) the vehicle externalism thesis: the physical substrate of the perceptual experience includes the brain, the body, and sometimes the environment. (Noe, 2004) Moreover, Noe intends his theory to account for both aspects of the perceptual experience, the phenomenal character and the representational content.

However, various criticisms have been raised against each of the two theses. Block argues that (1) against the first thesis, there is empirical evidence showing that sensory-motor knowledge is neither necessary nor sufficient for perceptual experiences, and (2) against the second thesis, there is evidence showing that the brain is the only physical substrate for perceptual experiences. (Block, 2005)

I believe both lines of criticisms are wrong-headed. Many of them are based on insufficient understanding of Noe’s theory and many of the critics’ implicit assumptions would not be accepted by Noe himself. If we can understand Noe’s theory and his background assumptions correctly, we will realize that his enactive theory of perception is a lot more defensible than it appears to the critics’ eyes.

In this paper, I will focus on defending the vehicle externalism thesis about perceptual content that physical substrate of perceptual content includes the brain, the body, and sometimes the environment. I will argue that this thesis is built on three highly defensible background assumptions of functionalism about perceptual content, distributed representation, and the vehicle of computation, and that the thesis itself is as defensible as the three assumptions. I will not, however, attempt to prove the thesis true.
In the first section, I will briefly review Noe’s main theses, and clarify some key concepts in his theory. Then, the criticisms against him will be laid out and discussed. Third, I will discuss the background assumptions of the vehicle externalism thesis and show the criticisms are wrong-headed. Finally, possible objections from the critics are considered and responded, and the assumptions from the critics are examined and discussed.

  • Keywords: Enactive Theory of Perception, Vehicle Externalism, Functionalism, Distributed Representation
  • Corresponding Email: linusthuang@gmail.com
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Can We Close the Gap without a priori Entailment?

Shun-Pin Hsu, Institution of Neuroscience, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan

Whether reductive explanations require that facts about high-level phenomena can be a priori entailed by facts about low-level phenomena determines the closing or not of the explanatory gap of consciousness. If reductive explanations require a priori entailments, and there are no a priori entailments from low-level brain states to high-level phenomenal states, then consciousness can’t have reductive explanations. David Chalmers and Frank Jackson support the position that a priori entailments from low-level to high level are necessary for reductive explanation by stating that information at the microphysical level implies information at the macrophysical level in normal cases, for example, genes VS. DNA, so we can have reductive explanations of macrophysical facts. Because phenomenal states VS. brain states don’t have the a priori entailment from low-level descriptions to high-level descriptions due to the conceivability of zombies, there is an explanatory gap. However, I will first argue that even in normal cases, information at the microphysical level can’t imply information at the macrophysical level. The illusion that we can deduce information about the structure or organization of macrophysical levels from information at microphysical levels comes from the presupposition of theories at the macrophysical level, such as biology, which provide conceptual tools to distinguish the structure and organization at macrophysical level. These distinctions are wrongly applied to the lower level, importing macrophysical level information. Secondly, I will argue that even without an a priori entailment, biology can have reductive physical explanations, so a priori entailments are not necessary for reductive explanations. Based on this consequence, I argue that even if the conceivability of zombies show that there is no a priori entailment from brain states to phenomenal states, we may still have reductive explanations of consciousness.

  • Keywords: explanatory gap, a priori entailment, reductive explanation
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Self-representationalism's Aristotelian Troubles

Michal Walerian Klincewicz, Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center, United States

Among the most widely discussed theories of consciousness today are self-representationalist theories such as those of Uriah Kriegel (2006) and Amie Thomasson (2000). These theories find inspiration in Franz Brentano and through Brentano in Aristotle. On Brentano’s theory of consciousness, a mental state is conscious if, and only if, it contains as a part of it a judgment about the mental state itself. On Kriegel-Thomasson’s model, a mental state is conscious if, and only if, a part of that state represents itself in some appropriate way. Still, these two approaches differ in an important way: The Kriegel-Thomasson model requires there to be a complex representational state the parts of which refer to the same object. By contrast, Brentano denies that judgments are attitudes towards a propositional content. Brentano argues explicitly that we find no such representational complexity in experience, and he took his theory to do justice to and explain the phenomenological absence of such complexity.

On Brentano’s theory, judgments are not analyzed propositionally, but rather as modes of referring to objects, characterized by the simple affirmation or denial of an object’s existence. In consciousness, judgments affirm the existence of the object that the mental state refers to unlike on the Kriegel-Thomasson conception, where they represent the mental state. Brentano observes that a conscious perception of a sound, for example, does not present the sound once as the content of a perception and a second time as a content of a representation of that perception.

Brentano concludes that a single intentional object figures in two distinct intentional relations: the relation that is about the object itself, and a judgment, which is relevant to the state’s being conscious. The contents of awareness are immediately present because that judgment is immediate and they are simple because there is only a single intentional object. I argue that the Kriegel-Thomasson self-representationalist programme, which does not implement Brentano’s theory of judgment, is not equipped to provide a phenomenologically accurate account. As a result, the self-representationalist theory of consciousness is best implemented in its original Aristotelian-Brentanian form, and stands and falls with that.

  • Keywords: consciousness, self-consciousness, self-representationalism, higher-order theory, Brentano, Aristotle
  • Corresponding Email: michal.klincewicz@gmail.com
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

How Real is the Self? Considering its Regulatory Role

Hsi-Wen Daniel Liu, Division of Humanities, Providence University, Taiwan

How real is the self of the mind? The answer does not depend on how we feel of our selves, but on the architectures of the self. The phenomena of the selves, however, can serve as targets for us to build computer simulations. Clark (2007) raises the notion of `soft selves’ for the extended mind thesis, but the role of self–regulation is not addressed. The soft selves are deemed as ecological controllers that exploit internal orders by self-organization to support problem-solving tasks. Clark (2007) understands his notion of soft selves as reconciliation between Ismael’s (2007) self-representation model and Dennettian non-reality of selves.
The present project argues that the extended mind can have a regulatory role of the self, a role that help agents to modify several parameters with a view to pursuing better performance; yet, Clark (2007) does not touch this issue. As a supplement of Clark’s notion of ecological controllers, the present project accounts for the regulatory role of the self, by resorting to control-theoretic models for simulating self-regulation discussed in the control theory in applied psychology. Several parameters in relation to the self’s regulatory role are highlighted, such as assessing task difficulty and reducing discrepancy.

Because of the regulatory role of the self, the present project shows, the extended mind owns pretty much internal devices without internal representations. The regulatory role of the ecological controllers is seen in the various ways in which agents change goals, modify internal parameters, assess the conditions of the encountered tasks, or assess the agents’ current capabilities of goal accomplishment; and the regulatory role is also seen in the agents’ way of acting on the environment with the direction of approaching to the encountered goal. All aspects of the regulatory role cooperatively endow the agents with capabilities of maintaining better performance. Such a role can be seen as a device to be imposed upon the ecological controllers of the extended mind, as a further aspect of the soft selves.

This account of regulatory self pushes the notion of ecological controllers further away from the Dennettian view of non-real selves.

  • Keywords: extended mind, soft self, ecological controllers, self-regulation, control theory
  • Corresponding Email: hwliu@pu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Evolution as Connecting First-Person and Third-Person Perspectives of Consciousness

Christophe Menant, EProc, IBM France (non active employee), France

First-person and third-person perspectives are different items of human consciousness.
Feeling the taste of a fruit or being consciously part of a group eating fruits call for different perspectives of consciousness. The latter is about objective reality (third-person data). The former is about subjective experience (first-person data) and cannot be described entirely by objective reality.

We propose to look at how these two perspectives could be rooted in an evolutionary origin of human consciousness, and somehow be connected.

Our starting point is a scenario describing how evolution could have transformed a non self-conscious auto-representation into a conscious self-representation (Menant, 2006). The scenario is based on the performance of intersubjectivity existing among non human primates (Gardenfors, 2006). A key item of the scenario is the identification of the auto-representation of a subject with the representations that the subject has of her conspecifics, the latter feeding the former with the meaning: 'existing in the environment'. So during evolution, pre-human primates were brought to perceive their auto-representation as existing in the environment. Such process could have generated the initial elements of a conscious self-representation.

We take this scenario as providing a possible rooting of human consciousness in evolution.

We develop here a part of this scenario by expliciting the inward and outward components of the non self-conscious auto-representation. Inward components are about proprioception and interoception (thirst, pain, …). Outward components cover the sensory information relative to the perception of the body (seen feet, … ) and of its effects on the environment.
We consider that the initial elements of a conscious self-representation have been applied to both inward and outward components of the auto-representation. We show that the application to inward components made possible some first-person information, and that the application to outward components brought up third-person information. Relations between the two perspectives are highlighted.

Such approach can root first-person and third-person perspectives in the same slot of human evolution.
We conclude by a summary of the above and introduce a possible application of this approach to the concepts of bodily self and of pre-reflexive self-consciousness (Legrand, 2006).

  • Gardenfors, P. (2006). “Evolutionary and developmental aspects of intersubjectivity”.
    http://project.sol.lu.se/sedsu/publications/2006-Gardenfors-EvolIntersubj.pdf
  • Legrand, D. (2006). “The bodily self: the sensory motor roots of pre-reflexive self consciousness”
    http://dorotheelegrand.googlepages.com/LEGRAND_2006_Bodily_Self_PCS.pdf
  • Menant, C (2006). "Evolution of Representations. From Basic Life to Self-representation and Self-consciousness". http://cogprints.org/4843/
  • Keywords: evolution, first-person, third person, consciousness, intersubjectivity, auto-representation, self-representation
  • Corresponding Email: christophe.menant@hotmail.fr
  • Presentation Website: http://crmenant.free.fr/Home-Page/index.HTM
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Self-Consciousness and Non-Conceptual Content

Kristina Musholt, Philosophy, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, German

Self-consciousness is often defined as the ability to think of oneself as oneself, an ability that is thought to require highly demanding conceptual (and linguistic) abilities and to be a uniquely human capacity (e.g. Rodl 2007). In contrast to this, it has (following the phenomenological tradition) recently been suggested that self-consciousness is a much more basic phenomenon and that there are primitive forms of self-consciousness that are pre-reflexive, non-conceptual and may be shared by non-human animals (e.g. Frank 1995/2002; Hurley 1997; Bermudez 1998). Some (Kriegel 2004; Zahavi 2000) even argue that self-consciousness is ubiquitous, i.e., that it accompanies all states of consciousness. Candidates for non-conceptual self-consciousness include proprioception, self-specifying information that is implicit in perception, and agency.

Here, I argue that while there are good reasons to believe that non-conceptual content plays an important role in the development and constitution of self-consciousness, we have to distinguish between the subjectivity of conscious experience and genuine self-consciousness. The latter involves more than the implicit presence of self-specifying information in the contents of experience – it requires that these self-specifying contents also be recognized as such. What is required for genuine self-consciousness is not just that the subject be provided with information that is in fact about itself, but an awareness of itself as itself. Self-referential information must be an explicit, not just an implicit part of the content of the subject’s experience.

I suggest that genuine self-consciousness is essentially a contrastive notion that has its roots in inter-subjectivity. I need the ability to contrast my own mental states with those of others in order to realize that they are my own. In other words, I need a (at least rudimentary) theory of mind. While the self-specifying information that is implicit in interoceptive and exteroceptive perception is part of the subjective nature of conscious experience and provides a necessary condition for self-consciousness, it is not sufficient for genuine self-consciousness.

I will show that this proposal fits well with empirical data from developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

  • Keywords: self-consciousness, consciousness, non-conceptual content, subjectivity, inter-subjectivity, first-person content, theory of mind, proprioception, agency, intentionality, bodily self-awareness, first-person perspecive, essential indexical
  • Corresponding Email: kmusholt@mit.edu
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Concepts, Consciousness and Self-Reference

Joel Parthemore, Informatics, University of Sussex, United Kingdom

This paper argues that the best candidate for the "hard problem" of consciousness is one that seems often curiously overlooked, involving self-reference. Consciousness studies take empirical study of the external world and turn it around, to focus attention on ourselves: for consciousness is intimately our own consciousness. Furthermore understanding consciousness may be seen as a recursively defined exercise, where what is being specified becomes part of the specification.

Concepts share a similar form of self reference, which theories of concepts must address. It is difficult if not impossible to specify what a concept is in general without employing particular concepts in the specification. If, as this paper argues, getting one's theory of concepts right is critical to getting one's theory of consciousness right, then an examination of the one sort of self-reference may give insight into the other.

Self-reference need not be vicious self-reference. But any sufficiently self-referential system will raise certain paradoxes, and our success at understanding them may well depend on our ability to derive some meaning from the paradoxes before they collapse into simple contradictions. So, for example, a theory of concepts that itself relies on concepts can be shown to be susceptible to a version of Grelling's Paradox, itself a variation on Russell's Paradox.

Russell's solution to the paradox in set theory was, of course, the theory of types, which effectively bans self-reference. But as others have argued, it is not clear that a solution we may be willing to accept in the relatively austere domain of set theory will be one we can, or should, accept in other domains. Rather than avoid the problem, or deny it, perhaps the solution is to embrace it, allowing that two apparently contradictory perspectives may yield a more complete overall understanding. What we lose -- which may not be worth saving anyway -- is the conviction that things must be either one way or the other in some universal, non-context-dependent sense. Note I'm not arguing against bivalence but rather in favor of e.g. annotating the truth function of a proposition with its context.

  • Keywords: self-reference, recursion, paradox, hard problem
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

A Trope-Ontological Ground for Psychoessentialist Cognition

Eric M. Peng, Department of Philosophy, Soochow University, Taiwan

Psychological essentialism (or simply "psychoessentialism") holds that the folk cognize kinds as if things had kind essences. The doctrine becomes weird when it is added the denial of kind essences. It is unfortunate that advocates of psychoessentialism direct their objection to the notion of "individual essence" instead of "kind essence". Barring this confusion, there is some plausibility of psychoessentialism. In this essay, I propose a revised version of psychoessentialism grounded on trope ontology. The version of trope ontology holds that an object is a bundle of compresent tropes (particularized properties) and that two objects are of the same kind only if they exhibit a similar pattern of trope compresence. The revised psychoessentialism, then, is the idea that we are born with the power to detect similarities of trope compresence patterns.

  • Keywords: psychological essentialism, trope, compresence
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Analyzing Conscious Visual Experience

Ulrike Susanne Pompe, Philosophy, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Germany

What characterizes and constitutes conscious visual experience? I aim to analyze these points by showing that the content of visual experience is not only determined by its underlying neurophysiological and neuropsychological processes and mechanisms, but that there is another important component which works in a top-down manner and which shapes our visual experience, that is the way things are given to us. I will do this by first distinguishing closer three different components of perception: 1) the underlying and mediating processes and mechanisms that lead to perceptual experience; 2) the level of conscious visual experience; 3) the level of judgments on the content of this visual experience. To exemplify why such as distinction is worth being drawn I will present evidence from the cognitive neuroscience and models on object recognition that result from the study of diverse pathological cases (e.g., different kinds of visual agnosia). Second, I wish to show that visual system does not only serve the constitution of conscious visual experience, but also allows for the guidance of behavior on a subpersonal level – think of blindsight, for example and further, that information supplied by the visual system can also be used to preconsciously elicit certain expectations about the upcoming visual input, and that this kind of “cognitive priming”, or let’s say sensitivation of context information in turn allows for the direction of attention, or the setting of a certain focus, and thereby influences what we perceive.

Conscious visual experience is therefore influenced and shaped by a bottom-up component, namely, its underlying processes, and secondly by a top-down component, that is responsible for the typical “aboutness-structure” of the phenomenal character of any visual experience. It can be shown how these “components” influence each other and how they interact. The phenomenon of visual experience can thus be analyzed in its phenomenological richness and at the same time be analyzed with empirical means. The three-fold model of perception defended here represents therefore a combination of philosophical, (neuro-)psychological and cognitive theoretical methods and paradigms.

  • Keywords: Vision, visual experience, visual processing, intentionality, cognition, perception
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Is the Mind Equal to the Brain?

Hui-Kong Shih, Philosophy, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan

Philosophers who studied consciousness generally may be divided into two groups: one is to claim that the conscious experiences can be totally explained in terms of the processing of neural patterns. The other is to claim that the objective explanations in terms of brain processing fundamentally leave out the subjective experience. The gap between subjective experience and the physiological processing of brain is still there. If the mind is equal to the brain, then studying the brain inevitably get the experience in mental states. But the situation is not like this.

The main stream in brain sciences suggests that the occurrence of our subjective experience such as sensation and cognition is all owing to the variation of our brain state. And it is irreversible. However, is our thought really impossibly to influence our brain state conversely?

In recent years, some of scientists use the method of meditation to cure the obsessive-compulsive disorder. The study finds that the concentrative “will” change the path of this kind of patient’s brain state and the will create a new path of neural connection to halt the neural path of obsessive-compulsive behavior. And some of experiments such as Davidson’s did some stunning study on meditative practitioners. The study finds the meditator can use his mind to change the brain state or to activate some parts of brain. There are evident data from the fMRI or PET. It is fit to the hard science although we don’t want to accept this result.

I thought that the mind can causally influence our brain, although I don’t want to give up the principle of causal closure. The quantum physics offer us an all new view to our world. If the subjective cognition is one of the factors to constitute our world reality, we really need to re-think the principle of causal closure and re-think the reality.

In short, the force of mind need the brain to present, and we need mindfully to experience “The mind is not only the brain.”

  • Keywords: mind, subjective expeerience
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

There is No One-Way but Complex Dynamic Feedback Relation between Perception and Action: Two-Level Interdependence View

Yu-Shin Su, Department of Philosophy, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan

In her ingenious book, Hurley (1998) proposes a ninety-degree shift from traditional Input-Output Picture of perception and action. The Input-Output Picture conflates the vehicle/content distinction. It confuses the personal-level distinction between perception and action with the subpersonal-level distinction between causal input and causal output. We should not suppose that the subpersonal-level properties or relations of vehicles must be projected into the personal-level contents they carry, or vice versa. They need not be isomorphic. The ninety-degree shift offers a new angle for thinking about perception and action, helps us to focus on relations between input and output rather than on relations between internal and external states. Two-Level Interdependence View sees perception and action is interdependent. The Interdependence of perception and action can be explained in terms of their codependence on a subpersonal complex dynamic feedback system of relationships between inputs and outputs. Some feedback loops might go external. They may loop dynamically through internal sensory processes and motor processes as well as through the environment. The environment is part of the complex dynamic feedback system. Complex dynamic feedback systems knit nervous systems causally into their environment.

  • Keywords: Two-Level Interdependence View, vehicle externalism, experience, perception, action, perceptual consciousness
  • Corresponding Email: gracyys@yahoo.com.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Troubles with the Representational Theory of the Mind

Yuan-Chieh Yang, Institution of Neuroscience, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan

Jerry Fodor argues that thought and concept take place in a mental language and this language consists of a system of representations that is physically realized in the brain of thinkers. That is, the concept is a psychological entity in the brain and the basic module of the mental language. This is the representational theory of the mind. Besides, he also argued that all concepts are innate. For replying Fodor’s viewpoint, I will argue that concept should be regarded as the ability instead of representation in the brain.

At first, I will discuss Nagel’s claim that phenomenal experience is non-representational and non-conceptual raw feelings. According to his point, when we get a color or aesthetic experience from physical objects, we don’t need to feel them through our conceptual analysis; in this sense, we use non-conceptual feeling in our brain to acquire some relations in the world. Nonetheless, there is no conflict between Nagel’s claim and the language of thought hypothesis.

But I will argue that this so-called acquaintance knowledge will be troubles when the representational theory of the mind completely explained away the possibility that unreportable experience has no relation to the function of consciousness which is mostly required conceptual structures. For example, our aesthetic experience is not merely raw feeling but sometimes the specific response to the world. Moreover, if we try to build the possible relations between things, we have to rely on our conceptual grasp of them. Consequently, it will be more reasonable if we think of concept as a special kind of ability to categorize or recognize our knowledge about the world; meanwhile, this ability is acquired rather than innate for the sake of adapting to the versatile environment.

  • Keywords: Fodor, Representational Theory of the mind, acquaintance knowledge, concept
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Can Machines Have Free Will?

Jing Zhu, Institute of Logic and Cognition, Sun Yat-sen University, China

The traditional philosophical issue about free will concerns whether the freedom of will is compatible with determinism and whether human beings have free will. Contemporary research in artificial intelligence aims to build intelligent machines that can be regarded as rational, autonomous agents. The question “Can Machines Have Free Will?” is becoming pertinent and significant as we need to understand the fundamental issues such as the nature of rational agency and autonomy. It is also relevant to the discussions of machine morality. On the other hand, extending various philosophical theories of human free will and moral responsibility to machines is by itself theoretical interesting and profitable for examining the plausibility and merits of these philosophical doctrines.

This essay examines the bearing of some major philosophical doctrines of human free will on the issue “Can Machines Have Free Will?”. Whereas compatiblism holds that the freedom of will is compatible with determinism and that humans can have free will even if determinism is true, libertarianism, as a doctrine of incompatiblism, maintains that the freedom of will is incompatible with determinism and that humans can have free will only if indeterminism is true. We shall examine how some leading proponents of contemporary compatiblism, including classical compatiblists (such as Daniel Dennett) and neo-compatiblists (such as Harry Frankfurt and Susan Wolf), and of libertarianism (such as John Searle, Robert Kane, and advocates of the so-called “agent-causation” approach) would reply when they were requested to consider whether machines can have free will.

Special attention will be paid to the concepts of consciousness and the self, as they are deeply related to that of free will. It will be revealed that different philosophical doctrines of free will may presume certain conceptions of consciousness and the self, which constrains whether and how machines can be endow genuine free will and justifiably bear the attribution of moral responsibility.

  • Keywords: free will, machines, consciousness, self
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

 

PS 2.2. Science II

Neuromagnetic Activities in Failure Retrieval versus Success Retrieval of Japanese Kanji Characters

Atsunori Ariga, Department of Psychology, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Katsumi Watanabe, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo; ERATO; AIST, Japan

Two types scripts are used in writing in Japan: syllabic (kana) and logographic (kanji) scripts. Although most Japanese words can be written in both the scripts, Japanese people often feel that there are some kanji characters that they can read (or recognize) but cannot write (or retrieve) due to their numerous variations and complex shapes. We focused on such characteristics of Japanese kanji characters and measured neural activity that specifically occurred during the retrieval process of kanji characters, by using a magnetoencephalography (MEG). A short sentence was initially presented on the display, a segment of which was written in kana and was underlined (a key segment). The participants' task was to retrieve a kanji character that corresponded to the key segment (i.e., kana-to-kanji translation). After a brief retrieval period, they reported whether they could successfully retrieve the corresponding kanji character with high confidence or they could not. Neuromagnetic activities were measured with a PQ1160C whole-head neuromagnetometer (Yokogawa Electric Corporation). MEG signals were analog-filtered and digitized for the retrieval period. We compared the neuromagnetic activities between trials where the participants reported they could successfully retrieved correct kanji characters versus trials they reported that they could not. Significant differences in neuromagnetic activity were found from frontal and temporal channels. These activities may correspond to either the encoding level or the retrieval processes of kanji characters, or both. Interestingly, even earlier in the retrieval period (about 1s after the sentence onset), the neuromagnetic activity differed from each other, being related to the participants' later reports. This result points to the possibility that the neural activity may, in some degree, predict whether the participants can retrieve a specific kanji character or not before they realize it.

  • Keywords: retrieval process, Japanese kanji, MEG
  • Support: JSPS, Ishikawa Sunrise Industries Creation Organization (ISICO), ERATO Shimojo Implicit Brain Function Project, JST
  • Corresponding Email: ariga@L.u-tokyo.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Non-Conscious Acquisition of Preferences through Evaluative Conditioning

Robert Balas, Department of Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland
Joanna Sweklej, Department of Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland

The two reported studies address the question whether conscious awareness is necessary condition for acquiring preferences. Also, two alternative theoretical accounts (referential vs transfer of affect) of evaluative conditioning were tested as well its resistance to extinction. Both studies adopted evaluative conditioning paradigm in which initially neutral stimulus (CS) is repeatedly paired with affective stimulus (US) leading to a change in the valence of the CS consistently with the valence of the US (positive or negative). After initial affective ratings of the stimuli participants were shown neutral stimuli paired either 8 times with a single US (positive or negative) or 8 times with 8 different USs of the same valence (conditioning phase). Affective change of the CS was indirectly assessed in affective priming task and participants’ awareness of the pairings was measured with recognition task. Additionally, Study 2 included extinction phase in which participants were exposed to CS only and a second measurement of affective rating was collected. Results show affective change due to conditioning that was independent of conditioning procedure and awareness of specific pairings used in conditioning phase. Also, there was no effective extinction of conditioned preferential responses. These data show that conscious awareness is not necessary for preference acquisition and that evaluative conditioning effects are robust.

  • Keywords: evaluative conditioning, preferences, non-conscious learning
  • Corresponding Email: rbalas@swps.edu.pl
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Attention Mediates the Facilitatory Effect of Task-Irrelevant Sound on Subjective Expansion of Visual Duration

Kuan-Ming Chen, Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Su-Ling Yeh, Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

The perceived duration of attended stimuli is lengthened compared to that of unattended ones (Fraisse, 1963). In our previous study we found that a synchronized but task-irrelevant sound expands the perceived duration of visual stimuli more than that of visual stimuli without sound (Chen & Yeh, VSS 2007). According to the scalar expectancy theory (Gibbon, Church, & Meck, 1984), two possible mechanisms in the pacemaker-accumulator internal clock can account for this augmented expansion of visual time by sound. One is the increment of arousal in the pacemaker which is reflected by a multiplicative relation, and with equivalent arousal the ratio of expansion at different durations should remain the same. The other is the decrement in latency of switch closure by focused attention which is reflected by the constant expansion across different durations. In this study an oddball paradigm was adopted to test the subjective expansion of time. A visually presented oddball was inserted into a series of standards and the participants compared the duration of oddballs to that of standards. Two durations of standards (750ms and 1050ms) were used and a synchronized sound accompanied the oddball. In the control condition, no such sound was added. The perceived durations of the oddball were computed separately for the uni- and bi-modal oddballs. Results showed that (1) the augmented expansion of visual time by sound was replicated for both standard durations, consistent with our previous study; (2) the ratios of uni- and bi-modal expansions at the two standard durations were not identical; and (3) the difference between uni- and bi-modal expansions remained the same. These results demonstrate that the amount of augmented expansion of visual time by sound remains identical for different durations. We conclude that the added sound decreases the latency of switch closure so that the pulses of timing ticks are accumulated earlier, as compared to the no-sound condition. The perceived durations of visual stimuli are lengthened due to enhanced attention by sound.

  • Keywords: attention, arousal, cross-modal interaction, subjective expansion of time, time perception
  • Support: Supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan, NSC 96-2752-H-002-008-PAE and 96-2413-H-002-009-MY3
  • Corresponding Email: suling@ntu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Using the Repetition Blindness Paradigm as an Implicit Measure of Awareness: a Crossmodal Integration Study

Yi-Chuan Chen, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Su-Ling Yeh, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

The type-token hypothesis of perceptual awareness (Kanwisher, 2001) proposed that linking an activated type with a spatiotemporal token representation is the gate for that particular type to reach consciousness. Accordingly, the repetition blindness (RB) paradigm can serve as an implicit measure in exploring perceptual awareness. RB refers to the failure to see the repeated item in rapid serial visual presentation, which results from the failure of a given type to be tokenized twice within a short interval (Kanwisher, 1987). Chen and Yeh (in press, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review) demonstrated that repeated visual events were better perceived when they were accompanied by two different sounds than by no sound, which implies that multisensory stimuli have a better opportunity to gain visual awareness. In the present study we explore further whether this sound-facilitatory effect in RB is due to enhancement of crossmodal interaction, or formation of new percept by crossmodal integration. We manipulated three conditions (no-sound, same-sound, and different-sound) and classified two groups of participants (detectors or non-detectors) based on their subjective reports of having either detected that there were two different sounds presented or not. The results showed that only the detectors led to different performances in the same-sound and different-sound conditions, and they did not suffer from RB in the no-sound condition; whereas the non-detectors suffered from RB in the no-sound condition and the two sounds facilitated the perception of repeated visual events, regardless of sound identity. These results suggest that enhancement due to crossmodal interaction can be observed by using the RB paradigm, while the new representation formed by crossmodal integration can only be observed after the possibility of rendering RB has been overcome. We conclude that the RB paradigm is particularly suitable for issues such as “how perceptual events achieve consciousness” and amongst the mechanisms multisensory integration is one of them.

  • Keywords: type, token, audiovisual integration
  • Support: National Science Council of Taiwan, NSC96-2752-H-002-008-PAE, and 96-2413-H-002-009-MY3
  • Corresponding Email: suling@ntu.edu.tw
  • Presentation Website: http://epa.psy.ntu.edu.tw/index.htm
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Equating the Influence of Conscious Attentional Control with the Effect of Automatic Bottom-Up Bias in Necker Cube Reversals

Sarina Hui-Lin Chien, Graduate Institute of Neural & Cognitive Sciences, China Medical University, Taiwan
Jen-Chao Chen, Graduate Institute of Neural & Cognitive Sciences, China Medical University, Taiwan
Chien-Chung Chen, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Bistable figures are stimuli that afford at least two interpretations even though the physical displays remain unchanged. It is known that conscious control of attention can selectively bias the intended percept for bistable figures such as Necker cube. For Necker cubes, attentional control (or “top-down” influence) may operate by enhancing the desired representation, or suppressing the alternative representation. In addition, automatic processing of low-level cues (or “bottom-up” influence) ( e.g., eye fixation) can also boost the desired percept by increasing the stimulus strength. Our goal is to directly compare the magnitudes of top-down vs. bottom-up influences on Necker cube reversals with a random noise paradigm.

In Experiment 1, we measured bottom-up influences in 55 naive observers with passive viewing. The strength of bottom-up cue was manipulated by adding 0%-99% random noises exclusively in the lower square (biasing the “top-view” percept) or the upper square (biasing the “bottom-view” percept). In Experiment 2, we measured the extent of selective attentional control over the 0 % noise Necker cube in the same observers. Three instructions were given: (1) passive viewing; (2) perceive the cube from top; and (3) perceive the cube from bottom. In each 20-s trial, observers were instructed to maintain fixation while monitoring their perceptual state and reported perceptual switches by pressing one of two keys.

The results are as follows. First, selective attention effectively enhanced the intended percept. Second, the percentage of dominance duration of a percept increased reliably as a function of the noise density, indicating an effective bottom-up effect. Third, the magnitude of bottom-up influence was comparable to attentional modulation and was affected by the individual's initial bias.

  • Keywords: Necker cube reveasal, bistable perception, conscious control of attention, bottom-up bias
  • Support: CMU-965145* to S.H.L. Chien
  • Corresponding Email: sarinachien@mail.cmu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Ethical Considerations for the Vegetative and the Minimally Conscious State

Athena Demertzi, Coma Science Group, University of Liege, Belgium
Marie-Aurelie Bruno, Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Centre, Belgium
Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse, Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Centre, Belgium
Caroline Schnakers, Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Centre, Belgium
Didier Ledoux, Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Centre, Belgium
Jan Bernheim, Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Centre, Belgium
Steven Laureys, Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Centre, Belgium

Introduction: Patients in vegetative state (VS) show relatively preserved arousal levels without manifesting signs of awareness. Minimally conscious state (MCS) patients are aroused and show inconsistent but reproducible signs of awareness. Medical guidelines have considered treatment withdrawal (artificial nutrition and hydration) in permanent VS ethically justified. The fact that almost half of chronic MSC patients are misdiagnosed as permanent VS (Andrews, Murphy, Munday, & Littlewood, 1996), raises the important ethical issue how MSC patients are to be considered, particularly when end-of-life decisions need to be taken.
Methods: A questionnaire about end-of-life issues in chronic VS or MCS (i.e. more than one year) was presented to people at meetings about disorders of consciousness in Belgium and other countries.

Results: The sample included 801 respondents (Mage= 40 yrs, range= 16-85, 42% women, 53% Belgians) and was analyzed based on their professional background: health-care workers (n= 601, 75%) and other professionals (n=200, 25%).
Among health-care workers, 49% (n=390) found treatment withdrawal in chronic VS acceptable and 18% disagreed (n=114). Fifteen percent of other professionals (n=119) agreed with treatment withdrawal, and 9% disagreed (n=74) (9 % no responses). The two groups differed significantly [x2(2, 801)= 19.5, p< .01]. When the respondents imagined themselves in chronic VS, 71% would not wish to be kept alive, whereas 26% would wish maintenance of treatment (2% no responses).
Among health-care workers, 21% (n=167) treatment withdrawal in chronic MCS acceptable, and 46% disagreed (n=366). Eight percent of other professionals agreed with treatment withdrawal (n=62), and 17% disagreed (n=133) (8 % no responses). The two groups differed significantly [x2(2, 801)= 14.1, p< .01]. When the respondents imagined themselves in chronic MCS, 58% would not wish to be kept alive and 40% would wish maintenance of treatment (2% no responses).
Conclusions: The majority of health-care workers find treatment withdrawal in VS acceptable. However, their opinions differ significantly from laypersons. Although the majority of health-care staff disagrees with treatment withdrawal in chronic MCS, a small percent still finds it ethically justified.

References:
Andrews, K., Murphy, L., Munday, R., & Littlewood, C. (1996). Misdiagnosis of the vegetative state: retrospective study in a rehabilitation unit. BMJ, 313(7048), 13-16.

  • Keywords: consciousness, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, euthanasia, ethics
  • Corresponding Email: a.demertzi@student.ulg.ac.be
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

The Eyes Have It: The Evolution of Complex Vision as a Precondition for the Emergence of Consciousness

David B. Edelman, Cell Biology, The Neurosciences Institute, United States

Given increasing evidence for consciousness in a number of mammals, the strong possibility of consciousness in birds, and the documentation of sophisticated cognitive abilities suggesting at least the possibility of a form of awareness in some invertebrates, it is conceivable that consciousness appeared independently a number of times during animal evolution. If this is so, it is likely that, in some radically different animals, conscious states are based, not on structural homologies, but rather on functionally analogous sensory and neural architectures. Were there convergent conditions that favored the independent elaboration of neural substrates for consciousness a number of times? I suggest that the development of camera eyes with focusing lenses, in conjunction with neural circuitry allowing the rapid cross-modal integration of visual input, provided the basis for precisely the sort of unified perceptual scenes that are believed to underlie conscious states in mammals. Among the senses, arguably it is vision that involves the fastest processing of the largest amount of input. With some possible exceptions (i.e., sonar in bats and cetaceans), vision is unique in its wide spatial range. Many mammals and birds can see distant objects in great detail, but can’t necessarily hear or smell over distance as acutely. Visual acuity over distance allows the tracking of a far-off moving object and, presumably, the time to plan an appropriate response. The visual systems of mammals and birds are well characterized in terms of the architecture of the eyes (a focusing lens projecting an image onto a retina populated by different opsin-based receptors), as well as the specialization of brain regions processing different aspects of the visual scene. However, although the structure of the eye is well documented in invertebrates such as coleoid cephalopods and spiders, the neural substrate for vision in these animals is not well understood. Nevertheless, the behavioral sophistication and visual capabilities of certain invertebrates suggest the possibility of a kind of cross-modal integration akin to that found in many vertebrates. I discuss the possible evolution of consciousness in different animal lines in the context of ecologies that may have engendered selection for animals with complex vision.

  • Keywords: animal consciousness, vision, camera eyes, cephalopods, spiders
  • Support: Supported by the Neurosciences Research Foundation.
  • Corresponding Email: david_edelman@nsi.edu
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

A Computational Model of Figure-Ground Perception

Kuntal Ghosh, Center for Soft Computing Research, Indian Statistical Institute, India
Sankar K. Pal, Center for Soft Computing Research, Indian Statistical Institute, India

The centre-surround model of receptive field in our visual pathway is a classical bottom up approach to visual information processing based upon brightness-contrast information. Its corresponding mathematical operator was first proposed by the empiricist Ernst Mach on the basis of the Mach band illusion. This model or its equivalents, though effective for explaining many brightness-contrast illusions, cannot account for many others like the White effect. Top down approach, on the other hand, is historically associated with the name of Hermann von Helmholtz, who argued that perception is the product of unconscious inference linked later to Bayesian inference or likelihood principle by many contemporary researchers. In between, the Gestalt school claims that perception is an outcome of recurrent bottom up and top down processes on the basis of such coherence criteria as proximity, similarity etc., thus enabling figure-ground separation-like feature extraction. In this work, we attempt to advance this approach with a new computational model of early perception that enables very effective figure-ground segregation. In continuation of our previous works (Biological Cybernetics, 94, 89-96, 2006), we had demonstrated that all brightness perception illusions can actually be classified into three separate contextual classes (Perception, 36(s), 54-55, 2007) and that these three classes probably represent three different attentional goals (Attention in Cognitive Systems: Theories and Systems from an Interdisciplinary Viewpoint, 386-403, 2007). Here, we address a new question that whether these three classes should be dealt on the basis of case-based-reasoning only, or whether there exists a unified mathematical theory. A new model, tries to answer this question in the affirmative. It modifies Mach’s equation by introducing a bi-harmonic of Gaussian compared to Laplacian and a fourth moment dispersion measure compared to between and within-class variances akin to Gestalt coherence criterion of similarity (and dissimilarity) among pixels and frequently used in thresholding gray scale images for obtaining binary outputs. A single step convolution with such a combination at unique parameter values results in binary maps that are expressive of the main information content imbibed in all the three classes of illusory images mentioned above and not obtainable by any standard grayscale thresholding method.

  • Keywords: bottom up, top down, Gestalt, brightness perception illusions
  • Support: Department of Science and Technology, India under IRHPA scheme
  • Corresponding Email: kuntal_v@isical.ac.in
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Entropy Analysis of Electroencephalogram Signals during Recovery from Coma

Olivia Gosseries, Coma Science Group - Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liege, Belgium
Caroline Schnakers, Coma Science Group - Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liege, Belgium
Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse, Coma Science Group - Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liege, Belgium
Melanie Boly, Coma Science Group - Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liege, Belgium
Marie-Aurelie Bruno, Coma Science Group - Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liege, Belgium
Victor Cologan, Coma Science Group - Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liege, Belgium
Gustave Moonen, Departement of Medecine, University of Liege, Belgium
Steven Laureys, Coma Science Group - Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liege, Belgium

Introduction: With the improvement in reanimation techniques, the number of persons surviving severe brain injury is increasing. These patients in an altered state of consciousness represent a problem in terms of their diagnosis. Indeed, assessing the level and content of consciousness in a non-communicating person is intrinsically difficult and it has been demonstrated that around one patient in three who is clinically diagnosed as "vegetative" is in fact conscious or minimally conscious. It is hence mandatory to study the role of para-clinical markers of consciousness, such as electroencephalography (EEG) entropy, in order to objectively assess patients' consciousness. Here, we reduced the complex information contained in the EEG to state entropy values. The aim of the study was to investigate the utility of EEG entropy calculation to disentangle vegetative state [VS] from minimally conscious state [MCS] patients.

Methods: A multi-centric prospective study recording fronto-temporal artifact and sedation-free EEG recordings in 20 VS (8 traumatic) and 20 MCS (12 traumatic) patients. Behavioral (Coma Recovery Scale - Revised [CRS-R]) and automated entropy monitoring (Datex-Ohmeda S/5, Helsinki, Finland) assessments were obtained in the acute (n=21) and chronic setting (n=19).

Results: EEG entropy measurements showed a significant correlation with behavioral assessments (CRS-R total scores; r=0,586). Mean state entropy in VS patients were significantly different from mean values obtained in MCS (38 vs. 71, respectively). ROC analysis showed that a state entropy value cut-off of 48 differentiated VS from MCS with a sensitivity and specificity of 80%.

Conclusions: EEG-state entropy measurements are a promising tool in monitoring consciousness in non-sedated severely brain-damaged patients and permit differentiation of vegetative from minimally conscious states. False positives (20%) seem to be due to muscular artifacts. Our findings are encouraging in the search for electrophysiological correlates of consciousness in severe acute brain damage but require further improvements of the employed algorithms in order to be of use in the clinical setting and the individual patient level.

  • Keywords: electroencephalography, entropy, vegetative state, minimally conscious state
  • Support: the FNRS, the ARC and the European Commission
  • Corresponding Email: ogosseries@student.ulg.ac.be
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

The Automatic Synchronization of Walking Phase of Two Persons when They See Each Other

Motoyasu Honma, Psychology, Rikkyo University, Japan
Takatsune Kumada, Cognition and Action Research Group, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan
Yoshihisa Osada, Psychology, Rikkyo University, Japan
Masayoshi Nagai, Cognition and Action Research Group, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan

Previous researches have found contagion in behaviors linked to social communication: mutual nodding for agreement, facial expresion triggerd by others’ one. The current research investigated the relation between social communication and synchronization in non-social behavior, or walking on the spot (stepping).

Sixteen typically-developed people (eight pairs) participated in this experiment. In the face condition two persons faced each other, and in the back condition one person faced the others’ back. In the first half of each trial, there was a curtain between the persons such that one could not see the other. In the second half, the curtain was removed and they could see the other. We assumed that two persons had a chance to socially communicate without a curtain, or the second half of a trial, in the face condition. The distance between two persons was 120 cm. The height of the right ankle was recorded in 60 Hz. We did not give any instruction to participants except for just walking during a trial. They wore headphones and heard loud white noise sound to avoid hearing the other’s stepping sound that could serve as a potential cue to synchronization of walking.

Based on the ankle height of two persons we calculated the phase difference in their walking cycles. In the face condition, the phase difference periodically increased and decreased with a curtain, but was close to zero without a curtain. Zero phase difference means perfect synchronization in walking. However, in the back condition, the phase difference continued to periodically increased and decreased without a curtain. We also tested a pair of autistic persons and found that their walking did not synchronize even in the face condition. These results revealed that the synchronization of walking automatically occurred in the face condition only with typically-developed persons. Walking do not seem have any role in social communication, but could be a good estimator for social situations and social skills. We speculated that automatic, unintentional, and/or unconscious synchronization of movements could be a basis for social interaction and communication, and autistic persons’ deficit in movement synchronization could lead to difficulties in social communication.

  • Keywords: automatic synchronization, walking phase, social communication
  • Support: The Open Research Centre Project for Private Universities: Matching fund subsidy from MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), 2005–2009.
  • Corresponding Email: mhonma@rikkyo.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Implicit Processing of the Location and Identity Information in Humans

Eiichi Hoshino, Department of Computational Intelligence and Systems Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Fumihiko Taya, Fundamental Research Laboratory, SonyCSL, Japan
Ken Mogi, Fundamental research Laboratory, SonyCSL, Japan

Remembering and recollecting an object (e.g. foods, nesting places) in the environment is important for the survival of animals. To achieve the recollection of things, it is necessary that two types of information, i.e. one on the identity of things and one on their locations, are correctly retrieved from the stored memory either consciously or unconsciously. While the "what" and "where" pathways (substantiated in the ventral and dorsal areas of the visual cortex, respectively) have been reported in the literature on visuospatial processing, it is at present unknown how the encoded memories for the location and identity are retrieved. A study using the functional magnetic resonance imaging has suggested a dissociation between the spatial and identity
recognition in humans (Emrah Duzel et al. (2003)). It was demonstrated that the hippocampal formation was more activated during the recognition of spatial configuration of stimuli compared to their identities, while behaviourally no significant difference was observed between the two conditions.

Here we investigate the dissociation between the location and identity memories in the encoding and/or retrieval process(es). We conducted a series of experiments on the nature of memory for the location and identity of entities under conditions were the subject's attention is controlled. The subjects were instructed to view two objects on a computer screen. After a delay, they answered questions on the locations or identities of the objects presented. In the location task, the subjects answered where the displayed object has been on the screen by pressing the specified button. In the identity task, the subject answered which object has been at the indicated location. Data on the correct rates and reaction times revealed a dissociation between the location and identity memories under controlled attentional states. Based on the results, we discuss the nature of the dissociation and interaction between the location and identity related memories in the conscious and unconscious cognitive processes.

  • Keywords: Spatial memory, Object recognition
  • Corresponding Email: eiichi@brn.dis.titech.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Perception-Motor Integration: Evidence form Event Related Potentials

Yu-Shan Huang, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan
Fen-Fen Chen, Department of Physical Therapy, China Medical University, Taiwan

Chronometry that combines event related potential (ERP) and reaction time (RT) was used to investigate perceptual-motor processing in the present study. The P300 latency is an index of stimulus evaluation time. RT-minus-P300 indicates the time for action planning. Using additive factors method, two variables (1) stimulus congruence (congruent vs. incongruent arrow arrays) and (2) response compatibility (compatible vs. incompatible) were manipulated in bimanual, two choices reaction time tasks(left-ward vs. right-ward key pressing). According to serial stage model, we hypothesized that stimulus congruence will affect stimulus evaluation time, P300 latency, and response compatibility will affect the time for action planning, that is RT-minus-P300.
Both RT and P300 latency results showed significant congruence and compatibility effect, and interaction was also significant. However, there was an insignificant compatibility effect on RT-minus-P300, the time for motor planning. These results seemed contradict the assumption of serial stage models, and suggested that stages for stimulus evaluation and motor events are not serially organized and their duration are not independent. The lack of compatibility effect on the action planning was worth noting. That may further indicate the stimulus evaluation and motor stage were actually overlapped, and the increased processing time for the incompatible task demands possibly cause decreased motor planning time.

Furthermore, P300 latency results showed that congruent stimuli had greater compatibility effect (352 ms vs. 385 ms), whereas the compatibility effect was less obvious for incongruent stimulus (390 ms vs. 395 ms). The results suggested that perception may be influenced by the action codes, in the present study, the congruent “directional arrows”, which seemed to be more task-relevant features, therefore, more likely to be selected for integration.

The speculation of the existence of an action codes as “directional arrows” was further tested in a verbal code (right vs. left) experiment. There was no significant compatibility effect of verbal code on P300 latency; however, the motor stage time was significantly lengthened.

It seems that perceptions and motor engrams may share a common code. The common code may lead to perception-motor binding, and affect perception and action planning.

  • Keywords: Reaction time, congruence, compatibility, P300 latency.
  • Support: The study was supported by the China Medical College Grant CMC-95-241
  • Corresponding Email: ffchen@mail.cmu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Oscillation of Conscious Experience and Brain Activity in Motion-Induced Blindness and the Necker Cube

Li-Chuan Hsu, Medical Colledge, China Medical University, Taiwan
Su-Ling Yeh, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Yi-Min Tien, Department of Psychology, Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan
Chia-Yao Lin, Medical Colledge, China Medical University, Taiwan

Perceptual rivalry is an alternation state of conscious experience that occurs with unvarying stimulus over time, which reveals the accessibility of consciousness one at a time. Motion-Induced-Blindness (MIB) is one kind of perceptual rivalry in which perceptually salient targets, when superimposed on a global moving-dots pattern, disappear and reappear alternatively after prolonged viewing (Bonneh, Cooperman, & Sagi, 2001). Despite that MIB has been shown to share similar temporal properties with binocular rivalry (Carter and Pettigrew, 2003) and the Necker cube has also been presumed to share a common form of neural competition between high-level pattern representation with binocular rivalry (Blake & Logothetis, 2002), it remains unknown whether MIB and the Necker cube result from common or separate neural mechanisms. Here, we investigate further to relate MIB to the Necker cube by recording brain activities while the participants reporting their percepts in MIB and the Necker cube. Behavioral results showed that for the same participant the temporal pattern of disappearance and reappearance in MIB is highly correlated with the pattern of oscillation in the Necker cube, and the distribution of dominance periods in both can be approximated by a gamma distribution. Event-related potentials (ERP) showed similar long-latency activities between MIB and the Necker cube over the right parietal lobe after response execution, and the long-latency activities were correlated with subjective reports of the different percepts in the two kinds of perceptual rivalry. Moreover, interhemispheric alternation in accordance with subjective report of perceptual rivalry was observed. Combing behavioral and ERP results, we provide evidence for the similarity in temporal properties for MIB and the Necker Cube, which may be related to a more general mechanism of figural competition.

  • Keywords: perceptual oscillation, Motion-Induced-Blindness, Necker Cube, ERPs
  • Support: National Science Council of Taiwan, NSC 95-2413-H-039-002, 96-2413-H-039-001-MY2, 96-2752-H-002-008-PAE, and 96-2413-H-002-009-MY3
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Bottom-Up Information is Sufficient to Impair or Facilitate Visual Search

Jingling Li, Graduate Institute of Neural and Cognitive Science, China Medical University, Taiwan
Wei-Chi Lin, Graduate Institute of Neural and Cognitive Science, China Medical University, Taiwan

According to some selective attention models (e.g., the guided search model), items that are salient or are relevant to current task should receive more attentional resource than the other items. Hence, a salient target should be processed faster in visual search. Here we report a case that a salient target actually have disadvantage in visual search. In our experiments, participants viewed a texture that was composite of oriented bars and extended all over the screen. The target was a small oblique line on top of one of the texture element bars in the central region, and the task was to discriminate the target’s orientation. To test how bottom-up information affects visual search, a vertical string of texture bars were designed to have orthogonal orientation to the other bars (termed the salient line). In Experiment 1, the target was on the salient line (termed the salient target) for 20% of trials, which was a probability that the salient line did not predict target location, or, was irrelevant. Surprisingly, we found that the RTs were longer for salient targets. In Experiment 2, the proportion of salient target increased to 60%, and RTs to salient target were then shorter, showing that the salient line could facilitate search if it is relevant. In Experiment 3, participants received an irrelevant block (20%) after a predictive block (60%). Again, longer RTs for salient target were obtained in the irrelevant block, suggesting that the impairment caused by salient line was robust and cannot be overwritten by experience. In Experiment 4, the length of the salient line was shortening while its location kept irrelevant. In this case, shorter RTs to salient targets were observed. Given that shrinking length did not increase predictability of the salient line, our findings therefore revealed that bottom-up information per se is enough to modulate performance in both facilitatory and inhibitory manner.

  • Keywords: salience, visual search, attention
  • Support: NSC96-2413-H-039-004-MY2, CMU95-292
  • Corresponding Email: jlli@mail.cmu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

The Limits of Attentional Blink

Cheng-Fen Kao, Psychology, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan
Shulan Hsieh, Psychology, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan

In a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm, it is often found that if a second target appears within 200~600ms of a correctly identified first target, the accuracy on the second target is decreased (known as “attentional blink”). A number of theories have been proposed and most of them assume resource limitation is the primary cause for the attentional blink. The present study argues against this assumption by showing that the attentional blink on the second target is not time-locked to the completion of a single item of the first target, but instead, is time-locked to the completion of a set of multiple items of the first target (Experiment 1). The second experiment of the present study further shows that such a target task-set can be even generalized to contain more than one stimulus category. Therefore, the current findings are difficult to be reconciled with the resource limitation theory. The results of the present study also provide important information about how one’s intentional concept of the task-set plays a critical role in determining the limits of attention.

  • Keywords: rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), attentional blink, resource limitation, task-set, limits of attention
  • Corresponding Email: psyhsl@ccu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

The Effect of Presentation Timing of Subliminal Information in Insight Problem Solving

Miki Kato, Department of Computational Intelligence and Systems Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Ken Mogi, Fundamental Research Laboratory, Sony CSL, Japan

Many human behaviors are supported by unconscious processing. Understanding is essential in problem solving, and is subserved by unconscious processing. In an insight problem solving, an idea would come into the solver's mind in a flash, while the cognitive processes leading to the solution are difficult to report. Evidences suggest that subliminal information influences the following cognitive processes. When a hint unrelated to the solution is presented after seeing an insight problem, the solution time is typically long. On the contrary, when the hint is presented too briefly to identify, the solution time is not prolonged. Subliminal information does not inhibit problem solving, whether it is related to the problem or not (Bowden et al 1997).

Comparison of the manner in which insight problem solving is facilitated or inhibited by the presentation of the hint provides information on the contribution of miscellaneous cognitive processes leading to the problem solving. Conscious cognitive processes are known in some cases to inhibit, rather than promote, the problem solving by insight. Taking some time away from the problem is helpful to in an impasse, suggesting the importance of unconscious cognitive processes.

Here we investigate the effects of a hint (unrelated, related, or the solution itself) in insight problem solving by changing the manner (conscious or unconscious) and the timing (before or after the problem) of presentation. Linguistic insight problem were prepared as tasks. Each hint was presented with a variable duration followed by the mask. Participants were instructed to press the key when they felt they had the correct solution. We examined the effect of hints facilitating conscious perception or otherwise presented with variable intervals before and after seeing a problem. Based on the result, we discuss the effectiveness of a hint in insight problem solving and the relative contributions of unconscious and conscious cognition in the process leading to the solution.

  • Keywords: insight problem solving, subliminal information
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Unconscious Motion Processing Contributes to Simultaneous Motion Contrast

Takahiro Kawabe, Faculty of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University, Japan
Yuki Yamada, Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University, Japan

Simultaneous motion contrast refers to a perceptual phenomenon where a counter-phase grating (target) is perceived as moving in the opposite motion direction of drifted grating (inducer) surrounding the target. Although previous studies have clarified precise mechanisms underlying the simultaneous motion contrast, it was to be examined as to whether such mechanisms work even in the absence of consciousness for motion. Here we show that unconscious inducer's motion strongly biased perceived motion direction of the target. We used a circular patch (2.83 deg diameter) as the target. The target was surrounded by a thick ring containing a grating moving upward or downward. The target consisted of the compound of two oppositely drifted luminance gratings, and the relative contrast of the gratings was systematically varied. The gratings of both target and inducer had a spatial frequency of 2.1 cpd, and Michelson contrast of 0.1. Employing a continuous flash suppression paradigm invented by Tsuchiya & Koch (2005), the inducer's motion was perceptually removed from consciousness. We conducted two conditions to examine the effect of the visibility of the inducer on motion contrast: In the invisible condition, we presented continuous flashes of Mondrian images at 10 Hz to the left (or right) eye while target and inducer to the right (or left) eye. Meanwhile, in the visible condition, continuous flashes were not presented. The observers' task was to judge whether motion direction of the target was downward or upward. In the invisible condition, observers also reported when the inducer was explicitly perceived: The data of trials with the report of visible inducer was excluded from the analysis. To calculate the PSE for perceptually-balanced motion direction, we used the method of constant stimuli with the relative contrast of oppositely moving gratings of the target as an independent variable. Three naive people and two authors served as the observers. Consequently the results showed that unconscious inducers' motion significantly caused simultaneous motion contrast. On the other hand, the magnitude of simultaneous motion contrast was smaller in invisible than visible conditions. These results indicate a possibility that although weak, spatial interaction in visual motion can occur unconsciously.

  • Keywords: Simultaneous motion contrast, Continuous flash suppression, visual consciousness
  • Support: This study was supported by SSP program in Kyushu University, Japan.
  • Corresponding Email: tkawabe@psycho.hes.kyushu-u.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

A Model of Consciousness and Self Based on Simple Abstracted Brain-Like Neural Network System

Yasuo Kinouchi, Information systems, Tokyo University of information Sciences, Japan
Katsumasa Masuda, Information systems, Tokyo University of information Sciences, Japan
Shoji Inabayashi, Information systems, Pacific Technos Corp., Japan

A model of consciousness and self that functions corresponding to global workspace theory (GWT) is proposed after investigating a neural network system with a simple abstracted brain-like structure that autonomously adapts to its environment. In this model, the operation of recursive self, nonconscious homunculus, and working memory are explained comprehensively. The system basically learns by trying to avoid unpleasant experiences and repeat pleasant experiences. As a top-level function, a self feels these experiences and consciously decides on actions on the basis of past experiences. The system does these actions faster and more adequately through learning.

The system is mainly composed of four functional modules: a concept module, an associative memory module, a core control module corresponding to “self”, and an integration module that connects these modules. The integration module selects the most important combination of concepts in the system at the time on the basis of a mutual vote from the many concepts. The selection result is then sent to the other modules. This function corresponds to GWT.

The core control module only has an active control function and decides whether to act as a system. Additionally, it feels the state of the environment at the time, past experiences, and intentional emotion. In our model, “to feel” is executed by only two methods. One is that a core control module perceives “the state of selected micro features in a concept module”, and the other is that a core control module directly perceives “the own state of emotion.” The former corresponds to our daily perception of environment or recall of memories. As direct perception of the own state of the core control module is restricted to emotion, then perception of the declarative content of the own state of the core control module has to go around the other modules. This means that the core control module can only see itself through a mirror and so experiences a recursive self. In addition, the operation of working memories is described as a memory control method applied by the core control module. This model leads us to clear understanding for consciousness and self.

  • Keywords: consciousness, concept, self, global workspace theory, neural network
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Study of Inhibition of Return on the Directed Forgetting Task

Chun-Yu Kuo, The Department of Psychology, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan
Hsuan-Fu Chao, The Department of Psychology, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan
Hsiao-Ling Wang, The Department of Psychology, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan

Inhibition of return (IOR) refers to a difficulty to put attention back to the attended location or object. IOR impairs the access of episodic memory has been documented. Therefore, the study aims to examine the effect of IOR on the memory recognition performance. We used the list-method directed forgetting paradigm consisted of two phases. In the learning phase, participants learn 56 nouns and half of the nouns were instructed to memorize and the others are to forget. Each instruction was present 2000 ms following the noun which was presented 3000 ms. In the subsequent test phase, a cross as a fixation and two peripheral boxes are displayed on the monitor for 1100 ms, and then one of two boxes had an asteriated cue inside for 300 ms. After the asterisk appeared, one noun was subsequently presented in the left or right box, which noun could be the old one in learning phase or a new one. Participants were instructed to press the right bottom if the noun is new, and the left bottom if old quickly and correctly. The target noun appeared in the cued box is called IOR condition, and it appeared on the different box called no-IOR condition. Both the result of reaction time and error rate reveal the effect of directed forgetting. There is a significant interaction between word type (remember, forget, new) and IOR (IOR, no-IOR)(p < .05).The simple main effect indicates that the recognition performance to the instructed to remember nouns, participants had a higher error rate on the no-IOR condition than on the IOR condition. The d’ performance data results in a significant interaction between memory type (remember, forget) and IOR condition (IOR, no-IOR)(p < .05). The result suggests that the effect of IOR would affect the recognition performance of the directed forgetting task.

  • Keywords: directed forgetting, inhibition of return
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at VIP Room

 

Aspects of Conscious Volitional Processes: Computational Modelling

Rabinder Lee, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, United Kingdom

Consciousness is recognised as important for biological volitional action selection, and this principle can be extended to robots and artificial systems. This work provides a concrete experimental scenario to test and elaborate upon previously published but untested research on digital neural architectures which model the dynamic process of conscious volitional processes.

This work uses the kernel model of will, as proposed by Aleksander, as a starting point. The model proposes a hypothesis that there are four distinct interacting neural regions which are necessary for action selection – regions for the tasks of depiction, spatial and episodic memory, affective evaluation of choices, and motor activity. In the kernel model, the perceptive and episodic memory neural modules fall within conscious awareness; the emotionally evaluative and motor control neural modules function largely unconsciously.

Preliminary experiments focus on instantiating the model in the connectionist software NRM. Later experiments use a virtual robot coupled to NRM, and initially focus exclusively on reactive behaviour, moving on to modelling contemplative processes, in which the robot consciously deliberates over each action trajectory before committing to action. Body needs are then incorporated in the virtual robot by implementing elementary models of appetitive mood states. The final core architecture includes spatial learning and memory, to provide the entity with a topographical cognitive map of the location of salient objects in the environment. This has the potential to contribute to agent adaptability and efficient action choice in a dynamic environment. This concluding work also models the parallel processing of affect and desire as a development of earlier work, where action choices were evaluated serially.

For each of the three preliminary and four core architectures, systems level analysis has been provided, and the neural architecture’s internal connectivity and arborization patterns are compared with those of the original kernel model. In particular, a demarcation and analysis is provided of the systems within the scheme of the parent theory of action choice including experimental work simulating and supporting the original theory.

  • Keywords: Emotion, affect, action selection, free will, virtual robot, neural networks, reactive behaviour, deliberative behaviour, kernel model of will
  • Support: EPSRC, Prof. Igor Aleksander
  • Corresponding Email: rab2jtm@gmail.com
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Consolidates and Retrieves a Percept from Short Term Memory

Hsin-I Liao, Division of Biology & Computation and Neural Systems, California Institute of Technology, United States
Daw-An Wu, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, United States
Hsiu-Yu Yeh, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University , Taiwan
Shinsuke Shimojo, Division of Biology & Computation and Neural Syste, California Institute of Technology, United States

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to visual cortex dynamically interacts with retinal input and thus alters conscious perceptual experience. When a visual stimulus is presented and followed by a dual-pulse TMS, an “instant replay” of the visual stimulus is observed (Halelamien, et al., VSS '07; Wu et al., VSS '01, '02, '04). While following this finding, we found that repeatedly pairing the same visual stimulus with TMS can lead to a state where the replay percept can be retrieved by TMS alone without any visual stimulus presentation.

The experiment consisted of two phases, the training phase and the test phase. In the training phase, a geometric pattern (a disk or a line) was presented for 100 ms, followed by a dual-pulse TMS (50 ms inter-pulse interval) with 300 ms delay. After repeated trials (10 trials or more), TMS alone was delivered without any visual stimulus presentation (the test phase). The replay percept was often retrieved in the area of TMS-triggered phosphene. Among 18 subjects we have tested, 5 reported no replay percept either in the training phase or in the test phase; another 4 reported a replay percept only in the training phase; the remaining 9 reported a replay percept both in the training phase AND in the test phase. Increasing the delay between visual stimulus and TMS during the training phase substantially weakened the vividness of the replay percept, with complete abolition at 3 sec. in most subjects. In such cases, no replay was seen in the test phase, either.

That the replay precept can be entrained and then retrieved by TMS alone not only provides evidence for the existence of a neural representation for the “replay,” but also implies a Hebbian-like associative learning mechanism that can be a basis of conscious perceptual experience.

  • Keywords: phosphene, replay, associative learning
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Improve Your Coordination in Movement to Be More Creative in Thinking -- The Enhancing Effect of Practicing Ya-Yue-Wu on Mind and Body

Yunn-Wen Lien, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Chun-Hui Jen, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Theresa Chyi, Department of Physical Education, Chinese Culture University, Taiwan

Ya-Yue-Wu is a type of ancient Chinese dance dated back to three thousand years ago and some versions have still been preserved in Taiwan, Japan (as a part of Gagaku ensemble) and Korea. The principles of the dance could be characterized as: 1) being relaxed but always keeps the central axis of body vertically, 2) initiating the movements through the reaction force of the ground, 3) keeping attention inward. It is believed that ancient Chinese achieved the balance between body and mind through following these principles in their daily life. In present study, we investigated how the exercising of these principles would enhance performers’ creativity measured by a divergent thinking task as well as body coordination measured by Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC). Seventeen fifth graders who were team members of Yi-Wu (a version of Ya-Yue-Wu) of an elementary school voluntarily joined the training program. Significant pre-post performance differences were found in both tasks for the training group. On the contrary, the control group made less progress and scored significantly lower than the training group in the post-test of both task. Interestingly, the extent of progress on divergent thinking task and MABC were positively correlated with each other in the training group. How the improvement of body performance is related to the improvement of mental performance through practicing Ya-Yue-Wu and the possible relations between body and mind will be discussed.

  • Keywords: Ya-Yue-Wu, movement coordination, divergent thinking, mind and body interaction
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Effects of Feedback Valence on Implicit Learning of Attentional Guidance

Hirokazu Ogawa, Research Center for Advanced Science & Technology, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Katsumi Watanabe, Research Center for Advanced Science & Technology, The University of Tokyo, Japan

The repetition of the same spatial configurations of the search display facilitates performance of visual search task. This improvement of performance is referred to as contextual cuing and indicates that the invariant structure of a display that predicts relevant information in the display can be implicitly learned to facilitate task performance by efficiently guiding visual attention.

In the present study, we investigated effects of feedback valence on the contextual cuing effect. In a typical contextual cuing experiment, subjects are asked to make a response to a search target in each trial in order to finish the experimental session. Therefore, finding or responding to the target itself can be rewarding because it will unbound them from the experiment. Our questions are whether the implicit contextual learning can be facilitated by a positive feedback (reward) and whether it occurs even when a response to a target is accompanied by a negative feedback signal (punishment).

In a normal contextual cuing experiment, subjects were given a positive feedback or a negative feedback immediately after their response to a target. They were told that their response speeds would be compared with those of other subjects and the feedback signal would assess whether their responses were quicker or slower than the average response speed. In addition, they were told that the number of trials would decrease when the positive feedback was presented and increase when they received the negative feedback. However, in the actual experimental session, the negative or positive feedback signals were randomly assigned to repeated layouts and therefore they were uninformative as to subject's performance.

The results showed that the positive feedback facilitated the amount of the contextual cuing effect when subjects were not aware of the uninformative nature of the feedback signals, namely, when they believed that their performance was assessed by the feedback signals. On the other hand, the negative feedback signal did not affect the amount of the cuing effect for both groups. These results suggest that motivational and reward process can modulate implicit learning processes of contextual cuing.

  • Keywords: Implicit learning,Visual attention,Valence,Feedback
  • Support: This research was supported by the Research Fellowships of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science granted to HO and KW and by the Shimojo implicit brain function project, ERATO, Japan Science and Technology Agency to KW.
  • Corresponding Email: ogawa@fennel.rcast.u-tokyo.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Crossmodal Temporal Memory Averaging

Junji Ohyama, RCAST, University of Tokyo; JSPS, Japan
Katsumi Watanabe, RCAST, University of Tokyo; AIST; ERATO-JST, Japan

Previously, we examined how a visual change (color change) in a continuously moving object would influence the remembered timing of another event (visual flash) (Ohyama & Watanabe, 2007). The result demonstrated that an unpredictable visual change distorts the temporal memory of another visual event, such that the remembered event timing is attracted to the unpredictable visual change. Similar temporal effects have been reported in relation to crossmodal interaction (Fendrich and Corballis, 2001) and saccadic eye movement (Morrone et al., 2005). For example, Morrone et al. (2005) reported that time compression did not occur for auditory clicks presented just before saccades, namely, time compression is specific to vision and saccade. In this regard, it would be informative to examine whether our previous finding of temporal memory averaging is observed crossmodally. In the present study, a brief auditory stimulus was presented instead of the visual flash to examine whether temporal memory averaging occurs crossmodally. In each trial, subjects saw a green or red disk rotate clockwise or counterclockwise and a brief sound (1kHz, 10ms) was presented at random timing. After the stimulus presentation, they were asked to report the sound timing by adjusting the clock position of the disk. In the no-change condition, the rotating disk did not change its color. In the unpredictable condition, the disk color changed at unpredictable timing. In the predictable condition, the color change occurred at the fixed timing relative to the stimulus sequence. In the predictable condition, the memory of timing of the sound was relatively accurate. In the unpredictable condition, however, subjects reported that the sound occurred closer in time to the color change. These results shows that the temporal memory of an auditory stimulus is also modified by the unpredictable visual change and suggests that temporal memory averaging occurs crossmodally and therefore the underlying mechanism may differ from that of time compression by saccades.

  • Keywords: Time perception, Crossmodal, Memory
  • Support: This study was supported by JSPS, a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and by the Shimojo Implicit Brain Function Project, ERATO, Japan Science and Technology Agency.
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Effects of Motion in Depth on Perceived Duration of Visual Stimuli

Fuminori Ono, Department of Neurophysiology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Japan
Shigeru Kitazawa, Department of Neurophysiology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Japan

There is much evidence to show that our subjective time perception is influenced by the motion of visual stimuli that should be independent of the physical duration. For example, perceived duration of moving stimuli increases as their speed increase (Mashour, 1964; Rachlin, 1966). Whereas previous studies examined effects of two-dimensional motion on the display surface, this study examined whether the perceived duration is influenced by the three-dimensional visual motion in depth. To examine this, we required subjects to judge the length of an empty-interval between two successive visual stimuli that generated perception of apparent motion in depth. We required participants to estimate the length of a short empty interval (e.g., 150 ms) that started from the offset of the first marker and ended at the onset of the second marker. We changed the size of the markers so that a single visual object was perceived as approaching or receding. The empty interval was perceived as shorter when the object was approaching than when it was receding. By breaking the shape continuity between the first and the second marker, we excluded a possibility that the depth effect was due to the size of the first or the second marker. The results clearly show that the time perception was influenced by the visual motion in depth. By adjusting the lateral position of two stimuli, we further found that the depth motion effect is observed only when our face is located on the course of the approach but not when it is just out of the course. We conclude that an anticipated collision decreased the perceived duration of the moving object.

  • Keywords: time perception, motion perception
  • Support: Research Fellowships for Young Scientists, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency
  • Corresponding Email: fuminori@med.juntendo.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Intuition Improves Accuracy of Complex Choices... Sometimes

Grzegorz Konrad Pochwatko, Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Joanna Sweklej, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland
Robert Balas, Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences; Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland
Matgorzata Godlewska, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland

The influence of the level of cognitive processing and implicit goal activation on choice making is examined. Contrary to previous findings (Dijksterhuis et al. 2004, 2006), conscious analysis in general is more effective, i.e. leads to more accurate choices than intuition and immediate choice. Accessibility of information during implicit or deliberate thinking phase also improves accuracy. Effectiveness of intuition is visible only when the information about choice options is complex (12 information about each option) compared to simple

(4 information). Implicit goal activation (introduced as an additional independent variable in study 2) influences choice without affecting explicit attitudes toward options (goal related vs. goal unrelated options are rated equally good). In "no goal" (i.e. control, identical to the study 1 design) condition the pattern of results from the first study was replicated. Similarly to the general tendency observed in the first line, activation of implicit goal leads to more accurate choices when ppts engage in conscious analysis of options. In general, results of both studies show that in intuitive choice condition something more than simple automatic responses can be observed.

  • Keywords: intuition, choice making, implicit goal activation
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Implicit Learning - the Role of Prevention and Promotion Motivation and Cognitive Style

Agnieszka Poplawska, Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Faculty in Sopot, Poland
Alina Kolanczyk, Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Psychology Faculty in Sopot, Poland

The aim of the study was to assess the role of motivation and cognitive style (global vs. analytic) in implicit learning process measured by the artificial grammar learning task. The previous studies did not take into account the necessity of the motivation and the role of cognitive style in this paradigm.

In the experiment participants were instructed to memorize letter strings ranging from two to eight elements each. In the learning phase experimental group was memorizing grammatical strings which were generated by Markovian automata. Control group did not learn anything. Next, both groups did classification task with new grammatical and ungrammatical strings. Both groups made the Navon test which defined the cognitive style of participants – global or analytic. There were additional instructions in motivated groups. First one suggested that results of the experiment are connected with the level of intelligence (preventive motivation), the second one - that this task improves participant`s ability to learn (promotion motivation).
Participants in experimental group classified new letter strings well above chance level and better than control group whereas the latter group performed the task on a chance level.

The results indicate that motivation has influence on implicit learning process, especially in interaction with cognitive style. The global cognitive style is more effective in condition without motivation, only in experimental group. The analytic cognitive style is more effective in condition with prevention motivation in control group and more effective in condition with promotion motivation condition in experimental group.

  • Keywords: implicit learning, cognition, cognitive processes, artificial grammar learning
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

The Role of Orientation Processing in Scintillating Grid Illusion

Kun Qian, Psychology, Kyushu University, Japan
Yuki Yamada, Psychology, Kyushu University, Japan
Takahiro Kawabe, Psychology, Kyushu University, Japan
Kayo Miura, Psychology, Kyushu University, Japan

The scintillating grid illusion refers to an illusion of black spots on the luminance increments at the intersections of gray grids on a black background. In this study, we examined the role of orientation processing in this illusion. In Experiment 1, we controlled the size and shape of luminance increments, and found that the illusion became weak on the square, compared with circle and diamond, in the largest size condition. In Experiment 2, we controlled overall orientation of squared luminance increments, and confirmed that the illusion became weak when the orientation of luminance increments changed from 45 deg to 0 deg. In Experiment 3, we changed the orientation of the grids, and found either the orientation of the luminance increments or the relative edge orientation of luminance increments and grid was 0 deg, the illusion became weak. This indicates that orientation processing is one of the determining factors of this illusion.

  • Keywords: scintillating grid illusion, orientation processing
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Measuring Consciousness

Anil Seth, Informatics, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Zoltan Dienes, Psychology, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Axel Cleeremans, Psychology, University Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Morten Overgaard, Neurorehabilitation, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark
Luiz Pessoa, Psychology and Brain Science, Indiana University, United States

How can we measure whether a particular sensory, motor, or cognitive event is consciously experienced or remains unconscious? Such measurements provide the essential data on which the current and future science of consciousness depends, yet there is little consensus on how they should be made. Having dependable measures of consciousness is essential both for mapping experimental evidence to theory and for designing perspicuous experiments. Importantly, measuring consciousness requires establishing the absence of unconsciousness and saying something about conscious level and conscious content of consciousness beyond the zero-point of unconsciousness. Advances in measuring consciousness have implications for basic cognitive science and neuroscience, for comparative studies of consciousness, and for clinical applications.

Here, we review current approaches to measuring consciousness, covering both behavioral measures and measures based on neurophysiological data. Among the former we cover discrimination, confidence ratings, introspection, and post-decision wagering. Among the latter we analyze widespread brain activity, synchrony, and various measures of dynamical complexity. We emphasize that measures of consciousness are intrinsically interlinked with theories of consciousness. Only by behaving sensibly in a theoretical context do proposed measures pick themselves up by their bootstraps, validating both themselves as measures of what they say they measure and also validating the theories involved.

Just as theoretical positions conflict with one another, conflicts among measures can be expected and in many cases have been observed. We provide a comprehensive assessment of these cases and also highlight promising experimental avenues for exploring other potential conflicts. Given these conflicts, measuring consciousness is best undertaken by combining in single studies multiple measures, both behavioral and brain-based. Presently, behavioral and brain-based measures tend to pick up on different aspects of consciousness: Brain-based measures are especially suited for measuring conscious level, whereas behavioral measures are mostly used for assessing which contents are conscious. Therefore, an integrative approach combining in single studies both types of measures encourages a virtuous circularity in which putative measures and theoretical advances mutually inform, validate, and refine one another.

  • Keywords: confidence, introspection, wagering, complexity, objective, subjective, integration, higher-order
  • Corresponding Email: a.k.seth@sussex.ac.uk
  • Presentation Website: http://www.anilseth.com
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Delay in Action Affected by Spatial Relationship in Goal Directed Imitation

Tamami Sudo, Department of Computational Intelligence and Syste, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Sony CSL, Japan
Tomomitsu Herai, Department of Computational Intelligence and Syste, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Ken Mogi, Fundamental Research Laboratory, Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc, Japan

Humans are able to imitate many complex skills. Imitation based on visual information is a special case of the translation of sensory information into action. Considering other's mental state by means of taking other's perspective plays an important part in social communication. In earlier findings, understanding other's mind through imitation has been suggested to be realized in the course of comparison between the representations of the self and others, involving a transformation of the egocentric perspective to the allocentric one (Rogers and Pennington 1991). In the process of transformation between the representation of the self and others, one possible scenario is that the imitator estimates the demonstrator's action through a mental rotation process. Alternatively, the imitator can perceive and imitate others in a mirror translation process. Prior research on a goal directed imitation shows that although young children imitate the demonstrator's action in the mirror translation process, older children and adult gradually learn to follow the mental rotation process (Bekkering et al 2000).

Here we report that a certain number of adult subjects show various strategies using both the mirror translation and the mental rotation processes as the situation demands. In many daily tasks (e.g. putting sugar into a cup with a spoon), handedness is important and is observed to produce a certain type of asymmetry in the delay of action and frequency of errors. On the other hand, the subjects exhibit differential modes of action in a "symmetric imitation", where there is less influence of handedness in imitating actions such as tapping or pushing a button. Based on the results, we discuss the significance of perspective taking and the sense of bodily ownership in the fundamental aspects of conscious experience supported by the mirror system.

  • Keywords: imitation, perspective taking, symmetry, mirror system, theory of mind
  • Corresponding Email: kenmogi@qualia-manifesto.com
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Complexity of Non-Conscious Processes in Decision-Making

Joanna Sweklej, Department of Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland
Robert Balas, Department of Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland
Grzegorz Pochwatko, Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Malgorzata Godlewska, Department of Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland

The presented studies were aimed at determining whether complex processes typically associated with overt thinking can occur without conscious awareness. In Study 1 participants were presented with 4-word sets in which 3 words converged in a commonly associated concept. Participants task was to find a common associate (a solution) to those words and indicate the word in a set that was not associated with a solution. This was done either under working memory load or with no distraction. The data showed above-baseline accuracy in excluding the odd-word even if the solution was not reported by participants. No working memory load influence was found. This indicated some degree of cognitive control over the use of implicit knowledge. In Studies 2 and 3 adopted a modified version of implicit learning task in which after learning rule-based stimuli participants are asked to discriminate between rule-based and random test items (Study 2 - visual domain, Study 3 - auditory domain). Participants accurately performed discrimination task not only when it required application of abstract rules governing the learning stimuli but also when a) the rules were transferred to new set of stimuli, and b) test items conformed to the rules extending from original ones. Above findings are discussed relative to the complexity of non-conscious processes involved in decision making and choice.

  • Keywords: decision-making, complexity of intuitive processes, deliberation-without-attention, implicit learning
  • Corresponding Email: jsweklej@swps.edu.pl
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Emotional Contagion in Communication

Haruna Takagawa, Computational and Intelligence, TOKYO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, Japan
Kenichiro Mogi, Fundamental Research Laboratory, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Japan

Understanding the emotional states of people is important for communication in various social situations, where one's mood is often affected by those of others. Emotional contagion is a complex process involving conscious perceptions as well as the automatic, unintentional mechanism largely inaccessible to awareness (Hatfield et al.,1994). For example, presenting photographs of emotionally expressive faces alters the subject’s conscious emotional states, influencing the unconscious cognitive processes reflected in one's bodily states such as the facial EMG (Dimberg 1997). A similar effect can be observed when emotionally expressive vocal short words are presented.

Cognitive processes which are emotion independent on the surface are also affected by one's emotional states. One way to manipulate the emotional states is to configure the bodily state physically. Embodiments of emotion, when induced in subjects by the manipulation of facial expression, is known to influence their cognitive abilities.

Here we investigate the cognitive implications of emotional contagion. The subjects were exposed to visual and auditory stimuli which would facilitate emotional contagion. During the exposure, the subjects were required to conduct a series of cognitive tasks. The performance for the tasks as well as the bodily reactions were measured for analysis. In addition, the subjects were put under various constraints on the body posture, including the facial expression.

Based on the results, we investigate the nature of emotional contagion as it expands to cognitive and phenomenological domains though the embodiment and interaction with the environment. We discuss the relative contributions of unconscious and conscious cognitions in our communication, with a particular emphasis on the mirror system. Finally, we raise some salient points towards understanding consciousness in the interactive domain.

  • Keywords: emotional contagion, embodiment, communication, mood
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Implicit Auditory Modulation on Visual Transition of a Bistable Motion Stimulus

Kohske Takahashi, ERATO Shimojo Implicit Brain Function Project, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan
Katsumi Watanabe, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Japan

While accumulative evidence has shown that visual perception (e.g., position estimation) is modulated by explicit auditory information, it is much less known whether implicit auditory information influences visual perception. We investigated how explicit and implicit auditory information would affect the transition between visual appearances of a bistable motion stimulus.

The participants' task was to report the direction of visual motion in three sessions; pre-adaptation, adaptation, and post-adaptation sessions. In the pre-adaptation and post-adaptation sessions, a bistable visual motion stimulus, wherein the direction of motion could be perceived as vertical or horizontal, was presented (Leopold et al., 2002, Nat Neurosci, Fig.1b). During the presentation of visual stimuli, two task-irrelevant auditory stimuli was alternatively presented with durations randomly determined from 4-12 sec. In the adaptation session, unambiguous vertical and horizontal visual motions were alternatively presented in synchronization with the changes of the auditory stimuli. The changes of auditory stimuli were easily detectable in Experiment 1 and not detectable in Experiment 2.

We found two distinctive auditory effects on the visual transition of the bistable motion stimulus. First, when the auditory changes were easily detectable (Experiment 1), the visual transition tended to occur immediately after the auditory changes, as if the explicit auditory changes disrupted the stability of visual perception (disruption effect). The disruption effect did not differ between pre- and post- adaptation sessions. Second, the mean intervals from the auditory changes to the visual transitions became shorter in the post-adaptation session than the pre-adaptation session (association effect). Detailed analyses of temporal dynamics indicated that after the adaptation of synchronized audiovisual changes, the visual transition tended to be inhibited for 2-6 sec. after each auditory change. Interestingly, unlike the disruption effect, the association effect did not depend on whether the auditory changes was explicit (Experiment 1) or implicit (Experiment 2).

These results suggest that auditory information influence the transition of ambiguous visual perception at both explicit and implicit levels; explicit auditory information disrupts the stability of visual perception and implicit auditory information (or auditory-visual association) changes the temporal dynamics of visual transition.

  • Keywords: audiovisual interaction, bistable figure, ambiguous perception, implicit process
  • Support: JST ERATO Shimojo Implicit Brain Function Project; a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Japan, No. 19730455.
  • Corresponding Email: ktakahashi@fennel.rcast.u-tokyo.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Unconscious Priming Effect of Word and Object on Object Recognition: an ERP Study

Yi-Min Tien, Psychology, Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan
Li-Chuan Hsu, Medical College, China Medical University, Taiwan
Chia-Yao Lin, Medical College, China Medical University, Taiwan

This study focuses on the unconscious priming effect of word and object on the object recognition. We investigate the unconscious priming by combining the masked repetition priming technique with the recording of event-related potentials (ERPs). ERPs were recorded to repeated target(R) and unrelated target(UR) pictures of common objects that were immediately preceded by briefly presented pattern- masked prime word or prime object while participants conducted a semantic categorization task. In the UR condition, compared to the R condition, the unconscious prime object elicited an N150 effect that was suggested to reflect early visual processing, while the unconscious prime word elicited a widely distributed negativity (N400) that was argued to reflect more general semantic processing. It is suggested that unconscious words were processed to the semantic level but the unconscious objects can only be processed to early visual level. The results differentiate the unconscious priming effects between word and object to different levels of processing. Whether or not, the results were limited to the unconscious repetition priming paradigm will be discussed.

  • Keywords: Unconscious, Priming, Object recognition, Word, Object
  • Support: CSMU 95-OM-B-015, NSC 95-2413-H-039-002, 96-2413-H-039-001-MY2
  • Corresponding Email: tien@csmu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

Influence of Subliminal Stimuli on Implicit Learning of a Supraliminal Sequence

Bert Timmermans, SRSC, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Sid Kouider, LSCP, Ecole Normale Superieure, France

This research brings together two important fields in consciousness research: implicit learning and processing of subliminal stimuli.

In a typical implicit learning paradigm - the serial reaction time task - subjects are presented with a sequentially structured series of stimuli and are required, on each trial, to press the key corresponding to one of four possible stimuli. Reaction times decrease progressively during learning, and increase when the pattern of the stimuli changes. Performance in this task has been taken to indicate the existence of dissociations between ability to learn about the sequential contingencies between successive stimuli and awareness of these same contingencies. Typical results, however, systematically indicate some awareness of the relationships between successive stimuli. To address this issue so as to provide a more convincing demonstration of unconscious learning, we explored whether it is possible to learn about sequential contingencies between subliminally presented stimuli. Positive results would indicate (1) that implicit learning can concern not only relationships between visible stimuli, but also between invisible stimuli, and (2) that subliminal material can be processed to the point where second-order sequential contingencies between them can be learned.

Exploratory experiments aimed at influencing implicit learning of a supraliminal sequence through presentation of backward- and forward-masked subliminal primes before the onset of each visible stimulus. Different experiments explored different relationships between primes and visible stimuli (e.g., repetition priming, second-order contingencies between visible and invisible stimuli). While the supraliminal sequence remains the same throughout the experiment, the subliminal sequence of primes changes in a transfer block. Results show substantial decreases in performance when the subliminal sequence is changed, which suggests that the primes were indeed processed and modulated learning of the supraliminal sequence.

  • Keywords: implicit learning, subliminal perception
  • Corresponding Email: bert.timmermans@ulb.ac.be
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

A Neural Correlate of Object Visibility Modulated by Top-Down Attention: An fMRI Study

Hiroyuki Tsubomi, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technolog, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Takashi Ikeda, Graduate Shool of Letters, Kyoto University, Japan
Nobuyuki Hirose, Graduate Shool of Letters, Kyoto University, Japan
Naoyuki Osaka, Graduate Shool of Letters, Kyoto University, Japan

Visual backward masking leads to the reduced visibility of a target stimulus due to a subsequent masking stimulus. Recent studies report that instructions prior to the presentation of visual stimuli modulate the masking effect; When participants are instructed to attend the target, the masking effect is reduced, whereas, when they are instructed to attend the mask, the masking effect was enhanced. Thus, top-down attention modulates the visibility of physically identical objects under the condition of visual backward masking. However, it remains to be investigated how the change of visibility induced by top-down attention relates to brain activities. To investigate this issue, we measured brain activity with fMRI while participants performed a visual backward masking task. The participants reported the level of visibility of a briefly presented target object (e.g. vehicle) in a 6-point scale (1, invisible to 6, clearly visible). The target stimulus was followed by a number of meaningless mask objects. Before each visual presentation, we instructed the participants to pay attention to the target, the masks, or neither. Our interest was to examine how the masking effect and BOLD signals would change depending on the instructions given. We replicated the previous behavioral studies; Attention to the target enhanced the target visibility whereas attention to the mask reduced it. The fMRI measurements showed that the subjective ratings of target visibility positively correlated with the BOLD signal intensity in the bilateral fusiform gyrus and the right intraparietal sulcus. Since the stimulus presentation conditions were identical, the modulation of brain activity may be attributed to top-down attention caused by instructions. These results suggest that the neural activity in the parieto-occipital cortex represents the visibility of a task-relevant object modulated by top-down attention.

  • Keywords: attention, backward masking, visibility, fMRI, parietal cortex, occipital cortex
  • Support: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists (04J00473 to H. T.); Japan Society for the Promotion of the Science (19203032 and 19653082 to N. O.)
  • Corresponding Email: htsubomi@fennel.rcast.u-tokyo.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

The Role of Attention in Implicit Sequence Learning. How Do Secondary Tasks Influence Learning?

Michal Wierzchon, Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Vinciane Gaillard, Faculte de Psychologie et Sciences de L'Education, Universite de Geneve, Switzerland
Dariusz Asanowicz, Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Poland

It is typically argued that implicit sequence learning require minimal attentional resources. However, recent data suggest that dividing attention during acquisition with a tone-counting (TC) task impairs sequence learning. The three studies presented here are aimed at further exploring the role of attention in sequence learning, by using a more demanding secondary tasks - precisely the random number generation task (RNG – experiment 1 and 2) and the mental arithmetic task (MA – experiment 3). The results of both secondary tasks were compared to those obtained using TC. In all experiments participants performed a serial reaction time task (SRT), either with a secondary task (RNG, MA or TC), or under full attention condition. Subsequently, participants generated either regular (inclusion condition) or irregular (exclusion condition) sequences in the manner of the process dissociation procedure. Results indicate that participants showed sensitivity to the sequential regularities in all experimental groups. However, impaired performance with overall slower reaction times was observed under dual task. Importantly, the strength of transfer effect differed depending on the secondary task involved: RNG and TC tasks yielded smaller transfer effects than a control condition, which was not the case under MA condition. The reinterpretation of the transfer results will be proposed. In the generation task, inclusion scores suffered from the secondary RNG task only. The scores of exclusion task stay intact regardless to the secondary task performed during SRT. The generation task data suggest that TC did not affect both implicit and explicit representations, whereas RNG influences explicit representation.

  • Keywords: implicit learning, divided attention, process dissociation procedure
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Positional Adaptation without Awareness

Yuki Yamada, Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University, Japan
Takahiro Kawabe, Faculty of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University, Japan

Adaptation to luminance- or contrast-defined stationary stimulus produces position shift of a subsequent test stimulus of the same type (positional adaptation). We examined whether the positional adaptation occurred even when the adapting stimuli were presented unconsciously. To remove the adapting stimulus from consciousness, we employed a continuous flash suppression paradigm (Tsuchiya & Koch, 2005). Five observers including two authors participated in the experiment. We presented two vertically aligned adapting stimuli consisting of two gabor patches to one of the observers’ eye for 5 seconds. The gabor patches had a odd sinusoidal as well as Gaussian contrast envelope to cause the spatially asymmetrical profile of luminance contrast. The grating patches were counter-phased at 1 Hz so as to reduce afterimage of the adapting stimuli. At the same time, continuous flash of Mondrian images covering the area of the adapting stimuli was presented to the other eye. The adapting stimuli, which presented above and below the fixation mark, shifted from the median line to right or left. After the adaptation, three vertically arranged test stimuli consisting of the Gabor patch with the spatially symmetrical profile of contrast were presented. Although the top and bottom tests were aligned in the median line, horizontal position of the central one was systematically changed trial by trial. The observers were asked to judge whether the central test stimulus was offset towards the left or right of the top and bottom ones. The data of trials in which observers saw the adapting stimuli was excluded from the analysis. As a result, the test stimulus was significantly offset from the high contrast area in the adapting stimuli, suggesting that positional adaptation occurred unconsciously.

  • Keywords: Positional adaptation,Continuous flash suppression,Visual awareness
  • Support: This study was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
  • Corresponding Email: yy@psycho.hes.kyushu-u.ac.jp
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Compatible Voice Boosts the Conscious Perception of Face

Yung-Hao Yang, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Su-Ling Yeh, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

The integration of face and voice plays an important role in social context, which is usually rich in verbal communications. In this study we examined whether voice can modulate preconscious facial processing by adopting the continuous flash suppression paradigm (Tsuchiya & Koch, 2005). A continuous stream of flashing Mondrians was presented to one eye and a face to the other eye. The contrast of Mondrians was diminished while that of the face was raised gradually. The face was not detectable in the beginning of a trial due to the dominance of Mondrians in binocular rivalry. Participants were asked to press a key whenever any part of the face was detected. RTs for the face to be released from suppression served as an index of the time needed to bring the face into conscious perception. The face could be either a women or a baby, each was paired with a compatible or incompatible voice. We found shorter RTs for compatible face-voice pairs than for incompatible ones, indicating that the time needed to bring preconscious facial processing into consciousness can be reduced by a compatible voice. We conclude that compatible voice at suprathreshold level has the effect of boosting the otherwise invisible face to reach consciousness, a cross-modal interaction that has not been reported before.

  • Keywords: consciousness, continuous flash suppression, cross-modal interaction, binocular rivalry, compatible voice
  • Support: National Science Council of Taiwan, NSC 96-2752-H-002-008-PAE and 96-2413-H-002-009-MY3
  • Corresponding Email: suling@ntu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Implicit and Explicit Processing of Emotional Words

Su-Ling Yeh, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Yung-Hao Yang, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Emotionally significant stimuli have been shown to either facilitate (e.g., Anderson, & Phelps, 2001) or inhibit (e.g., Most, Chun, Widders, & Zald, 2005) task performance. However, it is unknown whether these studies probed implicit or explicit processing due to the stimuli and tasks used. Clarification of emotional processing that is truly implicit and how it relates to explicit processing is one of the keys to reveal the mechanism of consciousness. We used emotional Chinese words and examined how they are processed under subliminal and superthreshold conditions. The continuous flash suppression paradigm (Tsuchiya & Koch, 2005) was adopted in which emotional Chinese words were presented to one eye, and a series of high-contrast dynamic Mondrians were presented to the other eye. Participants were asked to press a key when they perceived the word, and reaction times needed for them to release from suppression due to binocular rivalry were measured as the time for implicit processing of emotional words. Results showed that emotional words took longer to reach visibility compared to neutral words. However, when the same set of stimuli was tested in a binocular viewing condition, facilitation rather than inhibition was observed. It seems that emotion-laden stimuli have to pass through a more stringent “censorship” even when they are not visible; however, once they pass through it, perceptual enhancement due to feedback from the emotion pathway strengthens the stimuli and boosts the ongoing processing.

  • Keywords: consciousness, emotion, binocular rivalry, continuous flash suppression, Chinese words
  • Support: National Science Council of Taiwan, NSC96-2752-H-002-008-PAE, and 96-2413-H-002-009-MY3
  • Corresponding Email: suling@ntu.edu.tw
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall

 

Externalized Sense of Balance Using Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation

Tomofumi Yoshida, Mechanical Engineering and Intelligent Systems, The University of Electro-Communications, Japan
Hideyuki Ando, Communication Science Laboratorie, NTT Corporation, Japan
Taro Maeda, Communication Science Laboratorie, NTT Corporation, Japan
Junji Watanabe, PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan

Although humans normally localize the conscious self within their own bodies, recent tele-presence technologies allow persons to feel as if they were present without constraints of their physical bodily boundaries. The visual images, sounds, and haptic textures in the remote location are sensed, transmitted and presented to the observers, and then the observers perceived the sense of presence at the remote location. The presented sensations have been limited within vision, auditory, haptic, and sometimes smell. However, we have developed a novel sensation interface, which can influence the sense of balance using galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). The human vestibular system is stimulated by weak current through the electrodes, placed behind the ears. The GVS causes the feeling of lateral acceleration toward the anode. Based on this GVS technology, we produced a vestibular tele-presence system. In our system, an acceleration sensor is integrated into a small doll, which works as an externalized object of observer’s sense of balance, and the obtained data is sent to the GVS interface. The GVS is controlled according to the data from the sensor. Any kind of vibration of the doll affects the balance of the observers. When the doll falls over, they feel big swaying sensation. This GVS interaction makes them feel truly connected to the doll, and achieves the tele-presence of the vestibular sensation. In addition, we put the doll on the water, and the observers hold the tank of the water, in other word, they hold his/her externalized sensation (the doll). In this case, when they shake the doll, they are shaken. While they feel as if they were on the water, they see the doll from the outer perspective. This feedback loop between subject (observer) and object (doll) of the tele-presence strikingly disturbs the bodily self-consciousness, and this experience can be studied for investigating the relationship between tele-sensation and self-consciousness (e.g. Lenggenhager et al., SCIENCE 2007; Ehrsson, SCIENCE 2007). Our vestibular tele-presence system was experienced by more than 1000 people, and about 200 questionnaires were obtained. Here we report the results of the questionnaire and the typical subjective impressions.

  • Keywords: Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation, interface, virtual reality, tele-presence
  • Presentation: Poster, Saturday June 21, 4:30PM-6:30PM at Archimedes Hall