The new semester at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg will be opened by Prof. Olaf Blanke Center for Neuroprosthetics & Brain Mind Institute, Swiss Federal institute of Technology (EPFL), Campus Biotech, Geneva, Switzerland, who will share his current research on processes of consciousness.
Multisensory brain mechanisms of self-consciousness and visual consciousness
Past work has indicated that subjective aspects of consciousness, in particular the fact that consciousness is bound to the self, is based on the integration multisensory signal integration of visual, tactile, and proprioceptive stimuli in temporo-parietal cortex. Other prominent research highlighted the importance of interoceptive (bodily) signals in the insula. I will, present studies that investigate bodily self-consciousness by exposing subjects to ambiguous multisensory exteroceptive information about the location and appearance of their own body. Jointly with brain imaging, these studies have shown that activity in a network of brain regions, centering in the temporo-parietal cortex and insula reflects bodily self-consciousness. I will then present recent data that show that interoceptive (cardiac) signals are integrated with such exteroceptive multisensory signals and that they are equally powerful modulators of bodily self-consciousness recruiting insular cortex. Extended by data by neurological patients, these behavioral and neuroimaging findings show that bodily self-consciousness is based on the integration of specific multisensory bodily signals within key regions in temporo-parietal and insular cortex. I will argue that these brain mechanisms are not only crucial for self-consciousness, but also an important building block for perceptual consciousness, such as visual consciousness.
Lecture and discussion from 7:00 pm until approximately 8:00 pm
followed by dinner and informal discussion in the HWK Bistro.
A registration is requered for this event by October 19th.