Saturday, July 27, 2013

ASSC 17 Student Poster Competition Winners

The ASSC student committee is pleased to announce the winners of the student poster competition. Prizes were awarded for three categories: philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Two winners were identified in each category. 

Some of the winners have chosen to make their posters available for download. Check them out and leave your thoughts below.



- Emma Peng Chien, "Interaction theory, individualism, and autism" [download]

[Department of Philosophy, University of Alberta, Canada]
Interaction theory is proposed to include what the individualistic approach, the dominant view in psychology, fails to include in the explanations of human minds (Gallagher, 2004; Gipps, 2004). What individualism fails to consider, suggested by interaction theorists, is the interpersonal elements, such as interactions between individuals, in accounting human psychology. By including the interpersonal elements in psychology, interaction theory shows a better accommodation of evidences from both developmental psychology and phenomenology. In addition, including the interpersonal elements in psychology also helps to provide a more comprehensive account of autism. Interaction theory can account for both the social and non-social traits of autism while the individualist view of autism, theory of mind, explains only the social traits of autism. These advantages suggest that interaction theory might be a better theory in psychology than the individualist approach. However, I think there are two main problems that the interaction theorists should worry about. First, the evidences used to support interaction theory are from psychologists who belong to the camp of the individualist approach. Second, the way interaction theorists understand autism is still individualistic. I suggest that these two problems of interaction theory must be solved or interaction theory is just another individualist theory in disguise. In this paper, I will discuss these two problems of interaction theory and propose possible remedies to rescue interaction theory.
*BONUS: Célya Gruson-Daniel, an openscience proponent and co-founder of HackYourPhD, has conducted an audio interview with Emma Peng Chien. Listen to it here: 

- Ting-An Lin, "What is the most fundamental unity of consciousness?" [download]

(with Allen Y. Houng). [National Yang-Ming University]
According to the classifications made by Tim Bayne (2010), there are four different kinds of unity of consciousness: subject unity, representational unity, access unity, and phenomenal unity. Among these unities of consciousness, Bayne asserts that the subject unity is trivial and takes the phenomenal unity to be the most fundamental one. However, I will use Allen Y. Houng's Unifying Process Model (UPM) of the self (2013) to argue that since the phenomenal unity presupposes the subject unity, the subject unity is the most fundamental unity which can never be disrupted. According to the UPM theory, self is a dynamical unifying process for unifying the interoceptive and the exteroceptive stimuli. Through unifying the interoceptive information, the self then constructs a point of view which can experience the world. All the information experienced by the point of view is thus unified to the same subject and give rise to the subject unity which makes all the conscious states are had by the same subject of experience at the same time. The formations of other unites, including the phenomenal unity, are based on the subject unity. By unifying more stimuli, the self then constructs a phenomenal field based on the formed point of view. All the experiences are subsumed by the phenomenal field and thus result in the phenomenal unity that makes the subject has an experience of “something it is like to be in all the conscious states at once”. The UPM theory analyzes the cause of the unity of consciousness and shows that the subject unity is the most fundamental unity.



- Akihiro Korecki [1], "Exaggerated self in schizophrenia evaluated by the sense of agency task" [download]

with Takaki Maeda [1], Hirotaka Fukushima [2], Tsukasa Okimura [1], Keisuke Takahata [3], Satoshi Umeda [4], Motoichiro Kato [1], and Masaru Mimura [1]. [1] Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine; [2] Faculty of Sociology, Kansai University; [3] Molecular Imaging Center, National Institute of Radiological Sciences; [4] Department of Psychology, Keio University School of Medicine
The sense of agency (SoA) is the attribution of oneself as the cause of one’s own actions and their effects. We have reported that patients with schizophrenia demonstrated excessive SoA using our original task where participants were asked whether they attributed the self as a cause of change in a visual stimulus, which exhibited a variable degree of temporal discrepancy with their own actions (Maeda et al., 2012). This task could evaluate both feeling and judgment components of SoA, and we previously discussed that judgment components would play a key role in over-attribution of agency. In order to intensively evaluate the contribution of judgment components, we revised our former SoA task. This study applied an “adaptation method” on a trial-by-trial basis. When a participant attributed self-agency to a certain temporal delay, the delay in the next trial was extended so that the individual was less likely to make a self-attribution. Conversely, the delay was shortened when the subject attributed to a “non-self” cause. This style makes their judgment difficult. Moreover participants were instructed to make a same styled color judgment as control task. Thirty patients with schizophrenia and 30 controls were enrolled in this study. We found that patients demonstrated extremely excessive SoA even in longer temporal delay. Uncertain task situation would induce pathological contributions of judgment component of SoA in schizophrenia, resulting in the exaggerated self. On the other hand, both groups showed normal color judgment, which means that their aberrant results are specific problem in sense of agency.
- Thomas Strandberg, "Using choice blindness to shift political attitudes and voter intentions" [download]

with Lars Hall [1], Petter Johansson [1, 2]. [1] Lund University Cognitive Science, Lund, Sweden; [2] Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies
Political candidates often believe they must focus their campaign efforts on a small number of swing voters open for ideological change. Based on the wisdom of opinion polls, this might seem like a good idea. But do most voters really hold their political attitudes so firmly that they are unreceptive to persuasion? We tested this premise during the most recent general election in Sweden, in which a left- and a right-wing coalition were locked in a close race. Our participants stated their voter intention, and answered a political survey of wedge issues between the two coalitions. Using a sleight-of-hand we then altered their replies to place them in the opposite political camp, and invited them to reason about their attitudes on the manipulated issues. Finally, we summarized their survey score, and asked for their voter intention again. The results showed that no more than 22% of the manipulated replies were detected, and that a full 92% of the participants accepted and endorsed our altered political survey score. Furthermore, the final voter intention question indicated that as many as 48% were willing to consider a left-right coalition shift. This can be contrasted with the established polls tracking the Swedish election, which registered maximally 10% voters open for a swing. Our results indicate that political attitudes can be far more flexible than what is assumed by the polls, and that people can reason about the factual issues of the campaign with considerable openness to change.


- Hyeong-Dong Park [1], "Heart-brain interactions shape visual consciousness"

with Stéphanie Correia [1], Antoine Ducorps [2], Catherine Tallon-baudry [1]. [1] Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, INSERM-ENS, 29 rue d’Ulm, Paris, France; [2] Cenir, CNRS-UPMC- INSERM, 47 Bd de l'Hôpital, Paris, France
Reporting "I saw the stimulus" is the hallmark of conscious vision, but where does the "I" come from? First-person perspective requires a minimal sense of the self that could be based on the neural representations of internal bodily signals. To test whether conscious perception could be predicted from bodily responses, we measured magnetoencephalographic brain responses to heartbeats in participants detecting a visual stimulus at threshold. Trials were classified as hits or misses based on participants' responses, and heartbeat evoked MEG responses were compared between the two types of trials. The amplitude of neural responses to heartbeats before stimulus onset predicted stimulus detection, in the viscerosensory insula, and in areas belonging to both the self-related and default-mode networks: right inferior parietal lobule and ventro-medial anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortices. EKG activity itself was not different between hit and miss trials and correction of cardiac artefact using ICA did not affect the results of heartbeat evoked MEG responses. Other measures of autonomic arousal and visual cortex excitability such as pupil diameter and parieto-occipital alpha power during prestimulus interval did not vary between hits and misses. Stimulus detection subsequently slowed down the heart, and this effect was predicted by prestimulus differential heartbeat evoked responses in ventro-medial cingulate and prefrontal cortices. Conscious vision therefore appears associated with bodily signal monitoring in the cortical self-related network.
- Karin Ludwig [1,2], "The relationship between depth of intraocular suppression and neural processing of visual object stimuli"

with Norbert Kathmann [2], Philipp Sterzer [1], Guido Hesselmann [1]. [1] Visual Perception Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Campus Charité Mitte, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; [2] Klinische Psychologie, Institut für Psychologie, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät II, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
A widely accepted theory in vision science concerns the functional specialization of the primate visual system into a dorsal ''vision-for-action'' and a ventral ''vision-for-perception'' stream. As opposed to processing in the dorsal stream, ventral stream processes are thought to be closely associated with visual awareness. Recent neuroimaging work that investigated this differential link to consciousness has yielded controversial results. One study reported reduced ventral activation for invisible stimuli (rendered invisible by continuous flash suppression, CFS) compared to visible stimuli while dorsal activation appeared unaffected by stimulus visibility (Fang & He, 2005). Others found equally reduced activity in response to invisible stimuli in both streams (Hesselmann & Malach, 2011). To resolve these conflicting results, we investigated category-selective blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activity in both visual streams as a function of stimulus visibility and depth of interocular suppression. As in previous studies, we used images of faces and tools to target ventral and dorsal stream processing, respectively. Target stimuli were shown to one eye while the other eye was either presented with CFS masks (invisible condition) or with a blank screen (visible condition). In the invisible condition, suppression strength was manipulated by varying the contrast of the CFS masks. Additionally, we asked whether dorsal stream responses to tool stimuli were related to their connection to visually guided action or rather to their specific (elongated) shape. To this aim, we compared BOLD responses to tools that were clearly manipulable but not elongated to activation to tools with an elongated shape.

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