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X-SPECT amazing things

By Timothy Cocks Science and the world 22 Mar 2017
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Just a quick PSA for anyone who wants to play along at home and follow the more exciting research project on the planet right now:

The first sub-project looks at the links between prediction, experience, and embodied action. The key idea to be explored is that predictions impact conscious experience in ways that are intimately bound up not just with our own perceptual history but also with ongoing motor planning and activity

The second sub-project targets the role of inward-looking (‘interoceptive’) predictions on experience – these are predictions of our own changing physiological states. The idea to be explored, both philosophically and experimentally is that much of the distinctive ‘feel’ of conscious experience may be due to the influence of interoceptive information on the selection and construction of the winning predictive model

The final sub-project addresses more specifically human forms of conscious experience, including the kinds of reflective self-awareness required to notice and discuss our own basic (‘qualitative’) conscious states. The here is that more advanced (reflective, self-aware, agentive) forms of experience arise when the neural prediction machinery is turned upon itself – when we ourselves appear as elements in our own predictive world models. Hence the title of the overall project ‘Expecting Ourselves’. 

The project reads like a who’s who of researchers and theoreticians at the very forefront of brain and consciousness studies – Andy Clark, Karl Friston, Anil Seth, Lars Muckli and Andreas Roepstorff to name just a few. The site’s Resources page features a great video presentation from a visiting Jakob Hohwy and the Publications page already has a few chunky papers to get your teeth into.

For those interested in the absolute front line of philosophy of mind, embodied brain science and consciousness, the X-SPECT site is one to keep an eye on.

-Tim Cocks

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