Tag Archives: Mind

How the brain builds a sense of self from the people around us – new research

Sam Ereira is a Postdoctoral researcher of Computational and Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL. Between 2015 and 2019 he did his PhD in computational and cognitive neuroscience at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging. His research used behavioural modelling and brain imaging to try and understand how the human mind distinguishes between Self and Other, and how this process might go wrong in mental health disorders.

Better People Through Chemistry?

Many psychedelic proponents feel a need to ground their claims for the evaluative significance of chemically induced mystical experience in prior metaphysical claims about higher realities endowed with special moral authority. Herein, I recommend a shift in perspective according to which we need not posit moral supernature to justify the revelatory capacity of such experiences to tell us how to best act and be.

The Beautiful Brain

Katharine Dowson’s inspiration comes from nature, medicine and the scientific world as she often collaborates with scientists as part of her artistic practice. These include researchers investigating genetics, dyslexia and Parkinson’s disease, producing intricate casts of her own heart and brain from MRI scans. Her sculptures are made in various media but especially transparent materials and glass, which she uses as a metaphor for a membrane, a fragile yet robust skin that allows light to pass through and reveal the hidden interior within.

Consciousness: how can I experience things that aren’t ‘real’?

Philip Goff is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Durham University. A philosopher and consciousness researcher, his research focuses on how to integrate consciousness into our scientific worldview.

“My first academic book, Consciousness and Fundamental Reality (Oxford University Press), was published in 2017 and my first book aimed at a general audience, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness (Rider in UK, Pantheon in US), was published in November 2019.

I argue that the traditional approaches of materialism (consciousness can be explained in terms of physical processes in the brain) and dualism (consciousness is separate from the body and brain) face insuperable difficulties. On the basis of this I defend a form of panpsychism, the view that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the physical world. It sounds a bit crazy, but I try to show that it avoids the difficulties faced by its rivals.”

Humanity and nature are not separate – we must see them as one to fix the climate crisis

Heather Alberro is Associate Lecturer/PhD Candidate in Political Ecology, Nottingham Trent University.

“My work revolves around all things relating to the human-animal-nature relationship and its radical reconfiguration along harmonious/anti-anthropocentric lines. Specific disciplines of focus include radical environmental politics, environmental sociology, green utopian studies, environmental ethics, posthumanist studies, and sustainability.”

How a trippy 1980s video effect might help to explain consciousness

Robert Pepperell is an interdisciplinary researcher who works between art, science, and philosophy. He has published research in the fields of art history and theory, neuroscience, perceptual psychology, computer science, and philosophy of mind. He current leads FovoLab (www.fovography.com), where methods from art and science are combined to investigate the nature of visual experience and how it can be represented.

On ‘The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars’

When celebrated neuropsychologist Paul Broks’s wife died of cancer, it sparked a journey of grief and reflection that traced a lifelong attempt to understand how the brain gives rise to the soul. The result of that journey. ‘The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars’, is a gorgeous, evocative meditation on fate, death, consciousness, and what it means to be human.

In this correspondence Paul Broks discusses the production of this book with Garry Kennard, its illustrator.

Ecstasis

Fine artist Luciana Haill works with stroboscopic lighting & brainwaves (EEG signal) exploring consciousness & expressing the results through digital media, performance, sound & drawings.
Her artworks focus on liminal states of consciousness, sleep – more specifically the discrete states of Lucid Dreaming (the awareness within a dream & the ability to take control) & ‘Hypnagogia’ which is an inspirational state more commonly experienced at the onset of sleep & day-dreaming. She investigates the neural correlates & reveals these to the audience as changes in textured soundscapes & data visualisations. She is currently a visiting lecturer at Brighton University for the Digital Media Art MA.