Victor Lamme, Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Monday, July 06 2015, 11h Salle de réunion du LPP, H432, 4ème étage, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75006 Paris
When is a neural representation a conscious one?
There is now considerable agreement on the fact that conscious visual processing requires recurrent or re-entrant interactions between widespread neural assemblies. Strong controversy exists, however, on the necessary extent of these interactions. Some argue that they must involve the fronto-parietal network, enabling a broadcasting of information to the whole brain. Others, however, claim that recurrent interactions localized to the visual cortex suffice for a conscious visual percept. Further broadcasting is then only required for attention, access and report, functions that go beyond the generation of conscious experiences per se. The difference has great consequences for understanding the neural basis of consciousness, the interpretation of patient data (e.g. in vegetative state), and for age-old and fundamental questions about consciousness, such as its presence in animals or machines, the issue of qualia, or its molecular basis. Recent data on the controversy, obtained using EEG, fMRI, TMS, and pharmacological interventions will be discussed.
Victor A.F. Lamme, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC), Weesperplein 4, 1018 XA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Victor Lamme is a full professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam. He has worked on visual perception, attention, and memory, only to converge on the topic he is truly obsessed with: consciousness. He studies consciousness using a variety of techniques, ranging from single unit electrophysiology in monkeys to EEG, fMRI, TMS, and pharmacological interventions in humans. His aim is to provide a new definition of consciousness, moving away from our introspective intuition of it. He received an advanced ERC grant (2.3M) for this work, and was president of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC) in 2012. He also is a writer of popular science books, and owns a neuromarketing company.