14th Herbstakademie Wildbad Kreuth 2007 /16.10.2007 cb/Tsch
Keynote Lectures (in alphabetical order)
Walter J. FREEMAN Berkeley (USA)
A far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic model of the action-perception cycle based in nonlinear brain dynamics
Cognitive neurodynamics describes the process by which brains direct the body into the world and learn by assimilation from the sensory consequences of the brain-directed actions. Repetition of the process constitutes the action-perception cycle by which knowledge is accumulated in small increments. Each new step yields a freshly constructed frame that is updated by microscopic input to each of the sensory cortices (Freeman, 2004a,b). The continually expanding knowledge base is embodied in attractor landscapes in each of the cortices. The global memory store is based in a rich hierarchy of landscapes of increasingly abstract generalizations (Freeman, 2005). At the base is the landscape of attractors for the primary categories of sensory stimuli in each modality, for example, the repertoire of odorant substances that an animal can seek, identify, and respond to at any stage of its lifelong experience. Each attractor is based in a Hebbian cell assembly of cortical neurons that have been pair-wise co-activated and sculpted by habituation and normalization (Freeman, 1975). Its basin of attraction is determined by the asymptotically expanding subset of receptors that has been accessed during learning. Convergence in the basin to the attractor gives the process of abstraction and generalization to the stimulus category. This categorization process holds in all sensory modalities (Freeman, 2006). The convergence to and holding of a cortical state by an attractor provides a frame of cortical activity that typically includes the entire primary sensory cortex and lasts about a tenth of a second. The action-perception cycle includes 3-6 frames that repeat at rates in the theta range (3-7 Hz). A nonequilibrium thermodynamic model describes how frames form by phase transitions between receiving and transmitting phases in bistable cortex. The marker for the phase transition is a discontinuity in the analytic frequency of the carrier oscillation of the pattern frames.
W. J. Freeman, Mass Action in the Nervous System, Academic (1975/2004).
W. J. Freeman, Origin, structure, and role of background EEG activity. Part 1. Analytic amplitude. Clin. Neurophysiol. 115, 2077-2088 (2004a). http://repositories.cdlib.org/postprints/988.
W. J. Freeman, Origin, structure, and role of background EEG activity. Part 2. Analytic phase. Clin. Neurophysiol. 115, 2089-2107 (2004b). http://repositories.cdlib.org/postprints/987.
W. J. Freeman, Origin, structure, and role of background EEG activity. Part 3. Neural frame classification. Clin. Neurophysiol. 116 (5), 1118-1129 (2005).
W. J. Freeman, Origin, structure, and role of background EEG activity. Part 4. Neural frame simulation. Clin. Neurophysiol. 117(3), 572-589 (2006).
W. J. Freeman, Proposed cortical ïshutterÍ in cinematographic perception. Invited Chapter in: Neurodynamics of Cognition and Consciousness. R. Kozma and L. Perlovsky (eds.): New York: Springer, August (2007pp. 11-36).
Hermann HAKEN Stuttgart (D)
A Synergetic Approach to Neurodynamics: From Microscopic to Macroscopic Views
After a brief reminder of basic concepts of Synergetics, such as order parameters and the slaving principle, I start from a microscopic model of a neural net. The basic variables are dendritic currents as well as axonal pulses described by the light house model. The couplings between the neurons will be discussed.
In the spirit of Synergetics, the equations will be transformed to those of order parameters that act as macroscopic variables and allow us to make contact with mental descriptions. A saturation of attention is taken into account and the concept of quasi-attractors will be discussed. As a consequence, we may or must speak of an extended present.
Nikos LOGOTHETIS Tübingen (D)
Electrical Microstimulation and fMRI
Electrical stimulation (ES) of the brain has been performed for over 100 years, and although some might say it is a crude technique for understanding the detailed mechanisms underlying different neural computations, microstimulation has made significant contributions to our knowledge in both basic and clinical research. Recently there has been a resurgence in its use in the context of electrotherapy and neural prostheses. For example, ES has made it possible to at least partially restore hearing to deaf patients by delivering pulses via implanted electrodes to different regions of the cochlea. Stimulation of the basal ganglia is remarkably effective in restoring motor function to Parkinson's patients, and microstimulation of the geniculostriate visual pathway is regarded by some as a very promising (future) method for making the blind see again. Yet, the methodology still suffers from at least two fundamental problems; (a) we do not always know exactly what is being stimulated when we pass currents through the tissue; and (b) stimulation causes activation in a large number of areas even outside the stimulation site, making it difficult to isolate and evaluate the behavioral effects of the stimulated area itself.
Microstimulation during fMRI (esfMRI) could provide a unique opportunity to visualize the networks underlying electrostimulation-induced behaviors, to map neuromodulatory systems, or to develop electrotherapy and neural prosthetic devices. Last but not least, esfMRI can offer important insights into the functional neurovascular coupling. In my talk, I shall discuss findings from recent and on-going work on signal propagation during electrical stimulation. These findings not only offer some insights into functional neurovascular coupling and the interpretation of negative hemodynamic responses, but also reveal some interesting properties of the cortical microcircuits and the way they could propagate incoming population signals.
Michael PAUEN Magdeburg (D)
The puzzle of consciousness and the limitations of neuroscience
Throughout almost the entire history of science, it has be argued that important features of the human mind are beyond the reach of natural science. Today, many of these allegedly unsurpassable obstacles have been removed. It would be naïve to rule out that some of the problems that seem insurmountable to us, might be resolved in the future. This is true also for the so-called “puzzle of consciousness.” According to this position, neuroscience is unable, in principle, to provide an explanation for the emergence of consciousness. It will be demonstrated, however, that the arguments that seem to support this position are surprisingly weak. Still, a scientific explanation of consciousness seems hard to imagine, but it can be shown that our intuitions are subject to an ongoing change.
Gregor SCHOENER Bochum (D)
Dynamic Field Theory as a framework for understanding embodied cognition
Understanding embodied and situated cognition means understanding how cognitive processes are closely linked to sensory and motor processes and depend on the behavioral and environmental history and context in which they unfold. Such understanding must be based on principles of neural function. Although neurons are discrete units, their discreteness is unrelated to discreteness in behavior, such as when people respond categorically to stimulus or task continua. Similarly, the discrete time structure of neural spiking events is unrelated to discrete behavioral events, such as the initiation of a motor act. The neuronal level of description appropriate for understanding behavior is thus spatio-temporally continuous. Dynamical field theory is a neurally inspired theoretical framework which accounts for how decision events emerge from continous time processes, how cognitive functions emerge from neuronal interaciton, and how experience structures behavior. The talk will illustrate these ideas by references to models of movement planning, working memory, and discrimination as well as by showing how such models enable robots to acquire simple perceptual representations.
Gerhard WERNER Austin (USA)
Episodes in Consciousness viewed as Brain State Space Transitions
In the framework of Dynamical Systems Theory and based on evidence for processes of consciousness being discontinuous, it is here proposed to consider episodes of conscious awareness in the light of non-equilibrium brain state space transitions. The relevant theoretical background is reviewed as are the known landmarks of brain network configurations, and their specificity for conveying oscillatory activity of certain frequencies. This raises the questions: what kind of state space transformations can such systems undergo, and could the relation between sensory-motor cognition and its conscious registration be of the same category of events as are exemplified by state transitions in non-equilibrium physical systems: the formation of a novel physical reality at the microscopic level, expressed at the macroscopic level by a different qualitative phenomenology ? Approaches for empirical validation of this view by suitably designed brain imaging studies, and for computational simulations of the proposed principle are discussed; the latter guided by the new directions in the Physics of complex systems, and based on the principle of Universality classes in place of the extant forms of reductionistic explanations.
Oral Presentations (in alphabetical order)
Peter BEIM GRABEN and Harald ATMANSPACHER Reading (UK) / Freiburg (D)
Contextual Emergence of Macroscopic States in Neural Networks
In an influential paper, Amari  addressed the problem of finding reasonable macroscopic descriptions for neural networks. He considered random networks of McCulloch-Pitts neurons [2,3], and defined a proper macrostate by a macroscopic observable if two conditions hold: 1) The temporal evolution of such an observable should be compatible with a given coarse-graining of the system's phase space. 2) The observable hould be structurally stable against topological deformations of the network. As any coarse-graining by partitioning the phase space is contextually given, Amari's study supplies the basic building blocks to prove the contextual emergence of macroscopic descriptions . The scheme of contextual emergence comprises necessary but not sufficient conditions for a high-level description of a systems in terms of low-level properties. Sufficient conditions are yet provided by a contingent context that imposes stability conditions on the system's dynamics. We shall argue that Amari's conditions 1) and 2) actually define the stability of macrostates in terms of ergodic Markov chains. As examples for good macrostates, Amari  discussed mass potentials such as the EEG, which are hence by far more then mere epiphenomena of neurodynamics .
 S. Amari. A method of statistical neurodynamics. Kybernetik, 14:201 - 215, 1974.
 W.S. McCulloch and W.Pitts. A logical calculus of ideas immanent in nervous activity. Bull. Math. Biophys., 5:115 - 133, 1943. Reprinted in , pp. 83ff.
 J. A. Anderson and E. Rosenfeld (eds.) Neurocomputing. Foundations of Research, volume1. MIT Press, Cambridge (MA), 1988.
 H. Atmanspacher and P. beim Graben. Contextual emergence of mental states from neurodynamics. Chaos and Complexity Letters, 2(2/3): in press, 2007.
 S. Zschocke. Klinische Elektroenzephalographie. Springer, Berlin, 1995.
Thomas FILK Freiburg (D)
Applications of „Weak Quantum Theory“ in Cognitive Sciences
“Weak quantum theory” refers to a mathematical formalism which was designed to describe the structure of observables and states for any system which can be an object of scientific investigations. The framework includes classical mechanics and quantum mechanics as special cases, but the primary interest in this formalism is its applicability to cognitive science. A particularly successful application is the Necker-Zeno model for bistable perception, which predicts relations between cognitive time scales as well as distribution functions for the dwell time between two perceptive shifts. Further applications include a formalization of learning operations leading to a non-monotonic complexity measure for learning processes and a model for the discrimination and sequentialization of events in perception.
Norbert FÜRSTENAU and Monika MITTENDORF Braunschweig (D)
Simulation of Bistable Perception with Long Range Correlations Using PerceptionAttentionMemory Coupling
Simulation results of bistable perception due to ambiguous visual stimuli are presented which are obtained with a behavioral nonlinear dynamics model using perceptionattentionmemory coupling. As a kind of minimum architecture representing the ventral ("what") V4InferoTemporalPraeFrontalV4 loop the basic model couples the dynamics of a macroscopic perception state order parameter with an adaptive attention (feedback gain) control parameter with reentrant delay T and additive band limited white noise (Fürstenau 2006). Quasiperiodic perceptual switching is induced by attention fatigue with a perception bias which balances the relative duration of the alternative percepts. Memory effects are introduced by allowing for the slow adaptation of the perception bias parameter via coupling to the perception state. The simulations exhibit long range correlations of the perceptual duration times in agreement with recent experimental results of Gao et al. (2006). They are determined by calculation of the self similarity (Hurst) parameter H of the reversal time series (H > 0.5). Deviations of the simulated reversal time statistics from the G-distribution as typically observed in experiments, increase with decreasing memory time constant and attention noise. Mean perceptual duration times of 2 5 s are predicted in agreement with experimental results reported in the literature, if a feedback delay T of 40 ms is assumed which is typical for cortical reentrant loops and the stimulus-V1 latency (Lamme 2003). Numerically determined perceptual transition times of 3 5 T are in reasonable agreement with stimulusconscious perception delay of 150 200 ms. The symmetrized absolute value of the attention parameter exhibits good agreement with the dynamics of the eye blink rate as reported by Ito et.al. (2003).
Gao, J.B., Billock, V.A., Merk, I., Tung, W.W., White, K.D., Harris, J.G., Roychowdhury, V.P. (2006) . Inertia and Memory in Ambiguous Visual Perception, Cogn. Process vol. 7, 105-112
Fürstenau, N. (2006). Modelling and Simulation of spontaneous perception switching with ambiguous visual stimuli in augmented vision systems. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 4021, Springer, Berlin, New York, 20 -31
Lamme, V.A.F. (2003). Why visual attention and awareness are different. Trends in cognitive Sciences 7 1218
Ito, J., Nikolaev, A.R., Luman, M., Aukes, M.F., Nakatani, C., van Leeuwen, C. (2003). Perceptual switching, eye movements, and the bus paradox. Perception 32, 681 - 698
Omar GELO*, Fabian RAMSEYER**, Erhard MERGENTHALER*** and Wolfgang TSCHACHER**, *Vienna (Austria) / **Bern (Switzerland) / ***Ulm (Germany)
Synchrony in patient and therapist verbal-behaviour: Preliminary results
Background. Previous studies have investigated the relevance of synchrony in patient’s and therapist’s non-verbal behaviour and in their evaluation of success, suggesting that synchrony represents an outcome-related process measure. Our goal was in this study was to investigate the synchrony between patient and therapist verbal exchange within the therapeutic process. Methods. The sample consisted of 15 entirely transcribed sessions from a patient with a diagnosis of Major Depression treated with emotion-focused therapy. According to diagnostics, the case presented a good outcome.
The analysis of patient and therapist verbal exchange in the transcribed sessions was accomplished through a computer-assisted text-analysis following the Therapeutic Cycle Model. The computed measures consisted in patient and therapist emotional and abstract language (Linguistic Measures), and allowed identifying different modalities of emotional-cognitive regulation (Emotional-Abstraction Patterns) and the quality of therapeutic work (Therapeutic Cycles) within the therapeutic process.
Verbal Synchrony (VS) was defined as the time delay in the computed measures of the interactants along the treatments. Time-series analyses were conducted on the obtained data sets. Expected results. We expected VS to show higher values within Therapeutic Cycles than outside. Moreover, we intended to explore the relation between VS and the Emotion-Abstraction Patterns across time. Discussion. The relevance of Synchrony for process research is discussed, suggesting that synchronous verbal exchange in psychotherapy represents an important process variable.
Gerd HEINZ Berlin (D)
Nerve velocity calculated by cross interference distance
Signals in nerve systems can be seen as pulse-like time-functions, flowing slowly through different stages of information processing. We will call them discrete waves on wires that flow in inhomogeneous nets of wires, so called ìInterference Networksî (IN). Excitement locations (interference integrals) are coupled to places, were many wave maxima interfere.
Different researchers found different views on such nets between holography and experimental sciences. Lloyd A. Jeffress and Mark Konishi detected a symmetry relation, Karl Pribram analysed them to be holomorphic, Walter Freeman analysed neural masses and wave packets and Andrew Packard observed waves on animals.
The author found IN to be “image-like”. Basic properties of IN were investigated with very simple, nearly homogeneous configurations. Data addressing in IN needs the self-interference condition, like in optical images, projections can only occur under certain circumstances at defined places, the locations of self-interference.
If subsequent pulses flow with specific velocity, the pulse-pause corresponds to a geometric distance, the geometric wave length. If many pulses flow through different nerves and re-combine, a specific pattern shows the so called cross-interference distance: Around a self-interference figure subsequent pulses form a cross-interference pattern. To take IN for data addressing, only the range of self-interference can be used.
If we change the view, we can ask for the velocity for a cross interference distance of two meter for a long Swiss Guardian. Dependent of the maximum firing rate and geometrical configurations we get values between 10 and 120 m/s.
The values correspond to the velocity measurable in myelin isolated nerves. It seems, peripheral nerve system can be analysed as interference network.
Jürgen KRÜGER Freiburg (D)
Mirror Neurons, Non-Real-Time Processing, and Relationships to Consciousness
Transferring functions from mouth to hands in monkeys greatly increases the demands on visuomotor control. As a side effect, visual signals recognized as relevant for hand motor control can be triggered by a foreign hand. This is achieved by so-called primate "mirror neurons". The main significance of mirror neurons is that the evolutionary path towards the concept of objectivity, or independence of the actor/observer, has been opened, by exploiting the visual similarity of own and foreign object manipulations. This is linked to the recognition that oneself is a being of the same species as the (easily recognizable) conspecific.
Monkeys and even apes have no concept of explicit time. For instance, they cannot understand what "yesterday" means. Using explicit time signals is equivalent to introducing non-real-time processing, and episodic memory. It is noteworthy that the monkey mirror neuron area F5 is homologous to the human Broca speech area, with the principal distinctive feature of human language to operate in non-real-time. Other consequences of this type of processing will be demonstrated and discussed.
There is a structural similarity of "my manipulation yesterday" with a foreign observed manipulation. It is suggested that human consciousness, with its features of non-real-time processing and episodic memory, is derived from the mirror neuron system of monkeys.
Zeno KUPPER, Claudia BERGOMI and Wolfgang TSCHACHER Bern (CH)
Psychological and Neuroscience Approaches to Mindfulness Overview and Implications for Mindfulness Interventions in Psychotherapy
Background: Mindfulness as a mental state has been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). The term has its roots in Buddhist meditation traditions. Recently however, mindfulness has entered the scientific discussion, e.g. in psychology and the neurosciences. Moreover, various clinical interventions based on mindfulness-related theory and practices have been developed, mainly in psychosomatics and psychotherapy. Aims: In this presentation we would like to give a brief overview of some psychological and neuroscience approaches to mindfulness and discuss possible implications for clinical interventions and for research. Results: Mindfulness practice requires (1) constant, non-avoiding direction of attention towards an object, mostly an inner object, regardless whether it is pleasant or unpleasant for the individual or not, (2) a relaxing setting, in which experiences are observed and it usually involves (3) regular repeated practice. Neuroscience studies on neuroplasticity showed the relevance of similar factors for learning processes through facilitating the reorganization of cortical networks. Mindfulness meditation practice was found to be associated to increased cortical thickness in prefrontal regions and in the insula and with brain wave activity, which is associated to a better to a more positive and approach oriented affective style. Consistent with this, several authors found mindfulness meditation to be related to a better modulation of experimental induced negative emotions. Clinical interventions involving mindfulness meditation were found to influence prefrontal brain activity: 8-week mindfulness based programs showed to induce positive changes in the asymmetry patterns of prefrontal brain activity in normal subjects and to prevent their worsening in remitted depressive patients. Mindfulness meditation practice could also play an important role in the development of enduring, positive changes in the capacity to deal with and regulate one’s emotions. Conclusions: Mindfulness as a newly imported complex scientific construct provides an opportunity to investigate domains of mental functioning that are crucial for human well-being and were underresearched in the past. Psychological and neuroscience descriptions are both in accord and complementary regarding the processes related to mindfulness. To secure both theoretical understanding and clinical benefits, we suggest to handle the integration of mindfulness in psychotherapy research and practice with the appropriate caution and care.
Michael MADARY Bristol (UK)
On the Ontology of Neural Dynamics
Vehicle internalism is the view that mental states are constituted by neural states (Block, Adams and Aizawa). The challenging view, vehicle externalism, is that mental states are constituted by both neural states and parts of an organism’s environment (Hurley, Noë). There are a number of claims on both sides of the debate that deserve close attention, but here I focus on the following motivation for vehicle externalism: the activity of the nervous system can be best described using coupled nonlinear dynamical systems (Hurley 1998, Varela et al. 2001, Freeman and Skarda 1987).
First I explain why this fact lends support to vehicle externalism. In nonlinear dynamical systems with high coupling constants, it is difficult to trace the causal roles played by individual parts of the system. Thus, there is no principled way to distinguish between the minimal constituents of the system, on one hand, and the causal background conditions, on the other hand. This epistemic barrier leads one to expand the boundaries of the system both spatially and temporally.
But here is a vehicle internalist response (from Block, in conversation). If the description of the system using nonlinear dynamics limits our understanding of causal relationships between parts of the system, then such a description is at the wrong level. Instead, use a higher level of description, retain clear causal relationships, and be a vehicle internalist.
I shall evaluate this response, especially in light of recent work on the relationship between the two levels of description (Atmanspacher 2007, for example).
Ulrich OTT Giessen (D)
Brain Dynamics of Altered States of Consciousness: A Call for Integration
Marked changes in subjective experience are the common characteristic of altered states of consciousness (ASC; Vaitl et al., 2005). While the transition from ordinary waking consciousness to sleep and dreaming occurs spontaneously with a circadian rhythmicity, other ASC are induced by illness (e.g. epileptic seizures and psychotic episodes), pharmacological substances (e.g. anesthetics and psychedelic drugs), or psychological methods (e.g. hypnosis and meditation). The explanation of these states and of the underlying brain dynamics represents a great challenge for cognitive neuroscience. A review of current models reveals the necessity of integration in order to achieve comprehensiveness, coherence, computability, and biological plausibility. The ASC consortium is introduced as an internet-based research platform for scientists who want to share concepts, models, methods, and data related to ASC.
Vaitl, D. et al. (2005). Psychobiology of Altered States of Consciousness. Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 98-127.
Juval PORTUGALI Tel-Aviv (ISR)
Self-organized integration and disintegration
Theories of complexity and self-organization have traditionally focused on processes of self-organized integration. One example is Haken’s theory of synergetics that examines processes by which a disintegrated system of interacting parts self-organizes itself into an integrated system enslaved by one or a few order parameters. A second example is Prigogine’s notion of dissipative structures that follows the ways from (disintegrated) chaos to (integrated) order. A third example is Barabasi’s and Watts’ network theories that study the transition from regular and/or random networks with low level of integration, to highly integrated small worlds.
This paper directs attention to processes of self-organized disintegration. It suggests that while many processes of self-organization indeed evolve toward higher levels of integration, others proceed in the reverse direction, namely, from high level of integration toward disintegration. The paper then explores the dynamics of self-organized integration vs. disintegration in connection with cognition in general and the process of categorization in particular.
Stefan ROTTER Freiburg (D)
Relating Structure and Dynamics of Neocortical Networks
The ongoing dynamics of large networks of excitatory and inhibitory integrate-and-fire neurons has been extensively studied both numerically and analytically [1,2]. A network state was predicted, which is characterized by asynchronous global dynamics, while individual neurons fire irregularly, similar to what is observed in the mammalian neocortex in vivo. Numerical simulations of network dynamics in this regime, however, display second-order properties that are inconsistent with the predictions of the commonly taken mean field approach . One observes residual transient synchronizations among neurons, leading to a high variance of population activity. Our analysis shows that it is not the interplay of two antagonistic neuron populations that is responsible for the emergence of population synchrony in that regime. Rather, correlations induced by shared synaptic input, unavoidable in networks with recurrent connectivity and enhanced by Dale's principle, are causing the observed effects. Such correlations were not included in theories so far, despite their enormous impact on network dynamics. In addition, some new properties of the nonlinear integration dynamics in networks with conductance-based (as opposed to current-based) synapses are also discussed, the most prominent being the possibility of self-sustained activity without any external input and in absence of pacemaker neurons .
1. Van Vreeswijk C, Sompolinsky H (1998) Chaotic balanced state in a model of cortical circuits. Neural Computation 10: 13211371.
2. Brunel N (2000) Dynamics of sparsely connected networks of excitatory and inhibitory spiking neurons. Journal of Computational Neuroscience 8(3): 183208.
3. Kriener B, Tetzlaff T, Aertsen A, Diesmann M, Rotter S (2007) Correlations and population dynamics in cortical networks. Neural Computation, submitted.
4. Kuhn A, Aertsen A, Rotter S (2004) Neuronal integration of synaptic input in the fluctuation-driven regime. The Journal of Neuroscience 24(10): 23452356.
5. Kumar A, Schrader S, Aertsen A, Rotter S (2007) The high-conductance state of cortical networks. Neural Computation, in press.
6. Kumar A, Rotter S, Aertsen A (2007) Stable propagation of synchronized spiking in locally connected random networks. The Journal of Neuroscience, submitted.
Marcin J. SCHRÖDER Akita (JPN)
Mathematical model of information integration in the brain based on the formal analogy with quantum coherence
The paper presents a mathematical model of information integration in the brain formulated in terms of a variation of the algebraic formalism originally developed in the study of the foundations of quantum theory. The model is a result of the more general attempt to find an explanation of the phenomenal unity of consciousness using the conceptual framework of information. The earlier attempts have been usually directed by the computer metaphor with its fundamental input-output design, in which the lack of essential difference between the degree of integration of the incoming and outgoing information produced re-occurrence of the homunculus fallacy. Among the attempts to explain the unity of consciousness, most promising was the idea widely popularized by Penrose, to identify it with the quantum coherence of the functional units of the brain. However, even if the units are searched among the microtubules, not neurons, the big size of the regions of the brain involved in the cognitive functions has made the approach based on the quantum mechanical description impractical. In the model presented here, quantum coherence is extracted from the formalism of quantum mechanics, using its well known interpretation as irreducibility of the underlying quantum logic, and is utilized as a characteristic of the similar algebraic structure describing the process of information integration. The model proposed here does not necessarily require incorporation of all quantum mechanical formalism, which makes it possible to consider “quantum coherence” of the functional units of the brain without the assumption that they are quantum mechanical objects.
Wolfgang TSCHACHER, Hermann HAKEN Bern (CH)/Stuttgart (D)
Circular causality as a foundation of intentionality
Self-organized pattern formation is a ubiquitous phenomenon in complex open systems. Dynamical systems theory provides an understanding of how emergent variables (order parameters) originate from microscopic variables, thereby reducing the complexity of these systems. Control parameters comprise those external parameters and gradients that drive the systems; thus, control parameters denote environmental influences. Based on these concepts, the relationship between pattern formation and control parameters was modeled to address the functioning of a system with respect to the gradients of its environment. We propose that synergetic models of this relationship provide an account of ‘intentionality’, the philosophical question of "aboutness", e.g. of how a system (in cognitive science, an agent) can adequately respond to environmental constraints. We found that pattern formation tends to reduce the control parameters in an efficient manner. Using the Wilson-Cowan equations of axonal pulse rates in neural networks, this idea can be implemented in cognitive neuroscience.
Jirí WACKERMANN Freiburg (D)
A psychophysical model for retrospective judgment of temporal order
Perception of temporal extensions (durations) and retrospective judgment of temporal order of singular events are two seemingly different aspects of time experience. We present a simple model of order discrimination, derived from the ‘klepsydra model’ of representation of elapsed durations . The model is characterised by two parameters, corresponding to dissipation and diffusion terms in the model’s master equation. The model exhibits a non-linear and non-monotonic dependence of discrimination acuity on ‘past depth,’ that is, time elapsed since the occurrence of a pair of events until the moment of decision on their order. These qualitative features are in accordance with the phenomenology of ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ horizons of time experience . It is only between these horizons that time is experienced as an extension; beyond these horizons, temporal relations are not really ‘perceived,’ only ‘known.’ We speculate that an unfortunate combination of the characteristic dissipation / diffusion times can result in a fusion of the two horizons, and thus in a breakdown of the order discrimination mechanism. This may be the base of the experience of ‘a-temporality’ or ‘eternal now,’ reported from so-called altered states of consciousness.
 J. Wackermann and W. Ehm: J. Theor. Biol. 239: 482493, 2006.
 J. Wackermann: Span. J. Psychol. 10: 2032, 2007.
Kerstin WITTE*, Nico GANTER* and Christian PEHAM** *Magdeburg (D) / ** Vienna (A)
Applying a synergetic approach to sports science
Athletes can be considered as complex systems with regard to their movement coordination and sports performance. System theoretical models of basic rhythmic movements are known by a multitude of authors (Haken et al., 1985, Turvey, 1990, Sternad, 1996, Mitra et al., 1998, Kelso, 1995). Vereijken u.a. (1997), Lames (1994), Schöllhorn (1995), Haas (1995) and Witte (2002) used a synergetic approach to study complex movements in sports. These models show the possibility of characterising the movement coordination by only a few parameters. For instance the static balance, the transfer between walking and running and foot tapping movements were modelled (Witte, 2002). In this report the application of the synergetic approach to quantify the complex dynamics of two interacting organisms rider and horse in equitation is demonstrated. By means of the Karhunen-Loeve (KL) decomposition or principal component analysis (PCA) the number of order parameters is estimated. The resulting phase plots were analysed with respect to the different gaits and the used saddle.
Furthermore, the athletic performance and its development in training is a difficult and complex process, which can not be determined by linear and causal relations. Therefore, Lames (1996) and Hohmann (2003) proposed a system theoretical approach for modelling the athletic performance. The study shows such a synergetic model and its applicability to swimming and cycling. In this, the athletic performance is defined as a system parameter whose dynamics is primarily influenced by the physical load. This process is nonlinear and time-delayed.
Igor YEVIN Moscow (RUS)
Visual and Semantic Ambiguity in Art
Non-linear theory proposed different models perception of ambiguous patterns, describing different aspects multi-stable behavior of the brain. This paper aims to review the phenomenon of ambiguity in art and to show that the mathematical models of the perception of ambiguous patterns should regard as one of the basis models of artistic perception. The following type of ambiguity in art will be considered. Visual ambiguity in painting, including ambiguity of human poses combined from two different poses divided by some time interval; semantic (meaning) ambiguity in literature (for instance, ambiguity which V.Shklovsky called as "the man who is out of his proper place"), ambiguity in puns, jokes, anecdotes, and parodies; mixed (visual and semantic) ambiguity in acting and sculpture. Complexity theory of the brain revealed that the human brain as a complex system is operating close to the point of instability and ambiguity in art must be regarded as important tool for supporting the brain near this critical point that gives human being possibilities for better adaptation.
Posters (in alphabetical order)
Anna FUSARI*, Beatriz GARCIA RODRIGUEZ* and Heiner ELLGRING** *Madrid (ES) / **Würzburg (D)
Inhibition and Emotional Processing in Normal Aging
We present the results from an investigation aimed to clarify important features of emotional processing. We examined age differences in facial expression recognition and the role of the inhibitory mechanisms with emotional faces and words. Emotional processing is not invariant with aging. The emotional faces used in these tasks were faces (3D images) with the six basic emotions as originally proposed by FACS (Ekman & Friesen, 1978). All stimuli were presented on a computer screen.
We compared performance of 20 young adults (aged 20-30 years), 20 young-elderly adults (aged 60-69 years), 20 mid-elderly adults (aged 70-79 years), and 20 old-elderly adults (aged 80-89 years) in two tasks: an emotional face recognition task, and an emotional face/word task.
In the emotional face recognition task, participants had to identify the emotional expression enacted by the face of the virtual actor shown in the screen.
In the emotional face/word task, participants had to undergo two conditions: word inhibition and face inhibition, with congruent and incongruent trials on each condition. The instruction was to identify the emotion expressed by either the face (i.e., word inhibition condition), or the word (i.e., face inhibition condition), presented simultaneously.
Our data yield two main findings: first, emotional processing is not instantaneous and automatic, and second, this processing is not invariant with aging. Results obtained by the emotional face recognition task and by the face/word task will be discussed on terms of age-related differences in facial expression recognition and age-related declines in inhibitory processes, as reflected by the Stroop effect revealed through performance with emotional faces and words.
Beatriz GARCIA RODRIGUEZ*, Anna FUSARI* and Heiner ELLGRING** *Madrid (ES) / **Würzburg (D)
Working Memory for the Identification of Facial Expression of Emotions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease
Working memory (WM) is a short-term memory which allows to simultaneously recall the necessary information when other mental operations are carried out. It is regarded as the fundamental part of a suitable cognitive functioning and it is one of the first processes which is distorted in Alzheimer’s disease.
Facial expression recognition is an important feature of emotional processing. The goal of our study was to investigate to what extent the emotional processing of facial expressions changes when the functioning of the visuo-spatial sketchpad is experimentally interfered.
Three groups of participants were compared (young, elderly healthy adults, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease) performing a task where they had to identify six basic emotions from facial expressions. They were tested under two experimental conditions: identification without interference and identification with a secondary task (Corsi Blocks). The purpose of the secondary task was to interfere the normal functioning of the visuo-spatial sketchpad while processing the emotional stimuli.
The results showed a decrease in performance when the retention of the mental images was interfered in the three groups of participants. Moreover, the decrease was more pronounced for stimuli of higher complexity. Post-hoc comparisons showed that the AD group showed the most significant differences when compared to the other two groups in both experimental conditions.
Taken together, these results suggest that Alzheimer´s patients, whose working memory is found to be impaired since the beginning of the disease, have difficulties to process emotional stimuli. These data do not support the notion that emotional processes in these patients keep intact until further progression of the disease.
Omar GELO and Sergio SALVATORE Vienna (Austria) / Salento (Italy)
The dynamic of change process in psychotherapy: Theoretical and methodological issues
Several authors have recently proposed an approach to the process of change from the perspective of dynamic systems theory, emphasizing its complex and multi-determinate nature. The present paper aims to highlight some theoretical and methodological issues concerning the task of overcoming a static representation of the therapeutic process, and to suggest possible lines of development.
We propose that, in order to develop a dynamic account of the therapeutic process, the following aspects must be considered:
1) The psychotherapeutic process is a dynamic phenomenon that unfolds over time, and in which time has an organizational role. Time is then not just an external parameter of observation, but a constitutive element of the process itself.
2) The therapeutic process has a quasi-period organization, proceeding by “fit and starts”. According to this, the course of process variables must be conducted with reference to moving baseline, instead of a static one.
3) The therapeutic process is a dynamic system in which change is expected to be discontinue rather than incremental. Therefore we must: a) to work with patterns of indexes instead of single ones; b) identify “shift” moments, after which the observed patterns will present a new structure.
4) The process of change is characterized by the emergence of order-structures, which can be considered in terms of synchronization.
For each of these aspects, methodological considerations will be offered and discussed.
We affirm the potential of a dynamic account of the therapeutic change process, in order to better conceptualize and empirically investigate its essential mechanisms.
Omar GELO and Marco TONTI Ulm (Germany) / Bologna (Italy)
Synchrony between patient’s and therapist’s rate of speech: A pilot study
A dynamic systems approach to the psychotherapeutic process has been recently developed. In particular, different authors have investigated the role of synchrony in patient’s and therapist’s verbal and non-verbal behaviour as well as in their evaluation of success, suggesting that synchrony can be considered a process-based mediator of good outcome in psychotherapy. The present exploratory study investigates the synchrony in patient’s and therapist’s rate of speech, and its relation with important features of the therapeutic process.
The sample consisted in an entirely transcribed sessions from a patient with a diagnosis of eating disorders treated with psychodynamic therapy. This session has been described as a very clinically relevant one. An alignment procedure has been conducted in order to obtain information about the rate of patient’s and therapist’s speech: the session has been divided in small fragments (1 to 6 words) and aligned to the corresponding audio-recording. The rate of speech is measured on a text-based fashion as characters-per-second and words-per-second. Rate of Speech Synchrony (RSS) was identified by means of Pearson’s correlation. The text has been finally analyzed through a computer-assisted text-analysis following the Therapeutic Cycle Model. This allowed to identify different patterns of emotional-cognitive regulation as well as moments of active therapeutic engagement.
We expected RSS to increase along the course of the session. Moreover, RSS is expected to show higher values within moments of active therapeutic engagement. Results will be discussed with reference to recent developments within change process research in psychotherapy.
Henrik JORDAN Steenwijk (NL)
A dialectic - relativistic model of Psyche
In Greek mythology Psyche was a beautiful princess loved by Cupid, she became the personification of the soul. In the most general sense psyche is regarded as the vital principle or animating force within living beings.
Psychiatry as well as psychology are both established areas of science with the human psyche as topic. But it seems that in the current discourse the intrinsic content of psychiatry and psychology, the psyche itself, disappeared from the scientific discussion.The psychiatrist C. Haring states that there is no possibility to define the psychic. By G. Huber, the author of a standard book in German psychiatry, the term psyche doesn't emerge. In psychology psyche is usually vague defined as human behaviour, which can be operationally described. But it is neither evident what qualifies behaviour as psychic or not psychic nor whether the hereby exercised limitations of psyche on human beings is correct.
In German the term soul (Seele), in English mind are preferred as synonyms for the term psyche. But the English term mind broadens the German linguistic meaning of soul as a mainly religious matter with the meaning of sense. The confusion around the term psyche becomes obvious when C. Haring describes psyche as unconscious or partly conscious, whereas the English spoken journal 'PSYCHE' is introduced as 'interdisciplinary journal of research on consciousness'.
With the here introduced model by dint of the dialectic method of G.W.F. Hegel and based on the fundamental constructivist view of H. Maturana and F. Varela about autopoeisis will be discussed an abstract concept of psyche. Psyche will be described as a function of a relativistic field, thus not as a topological one as it was conceptualized by K. Lewin. This model is comprehensive due to its abstraction, but it allows a sharper definition of the topic. A consequence of this model is the unity of biology, psychology, and sociology.
Ivelisse LAZZARINI Creighton (USA)
Exploring Human Perception
Traditional science has consistently disregarded individual differences with respect to perceptual states. Many of the studies on perception only report average perceptual states as opposed to the nonlinear dynamic variability of human perception. This study investigates the visual perceptual systems of individuals with respect to a specific object. In particular, probing what is perceived when looking at a given object? For many investigators the quandary of perception resides in how properties of the world come to be represented in the mind of the perceiver. In this project, however, I am less concerned with the content of perception and focus on the dynamics of perceiving.
Omid MOJTABA Trabriz Azad (IR)
Proving the digitaly entity of data reserve process and recreating memory in brain and the brain imaging suggesting it
In this hypothesis, at first the digital system is familiarized and then the concept of zero and one or existence or not existence as the digital base is generalized to two kinds of the electromagnetic waves spectrum emmited from the body especially the brain and its cortex and it is indicated that the radio waves of the brain can be considered zero and the lack of radio waves as the result of the replacing infrared waves relating to the metabolism and high temperature of the brain as the result of coming messages from sensory organs, one ; since according to the relativity theory and the difference of light (EM waves) speed [C] in different environments, in the certain spectrum of the radio waves, the time passing equal zero  but it is not zero  in the infrared waves, them the data received from sensory organs to the brain and cortex are encoded and are reserved in TIME as becoming zero and increasing the speed of time passing as the result of the reciprocity of two radio and infrared spectrums .
in the second part of the article some witnesses are represented through the images provided by the equipments PET and f MRI from the brains of the patients with different aspects of mental and functional problems showing that in these patients the normal metabolism of the brain is destroyed which distorts the 0 and 1 system to form the codes and their reserve and recreation; these experimental observations prove the hypothesis.
Jose Raul NARANJO and Stefan SCHMIDT Freiburg (D)
The impact of mindfulness meditation on visuomotor performance and awareness of action: an EEG and behavioural study of short- and long-term meditators
Awareness of action and the attribution of agency are key issues in the neuroscientific study of consciousness. Attribution of agency involves the ability to distinguish our own actions and their sensory consequences which are self-generated from those generated by external agents. The interplay between perceptual awareness and motor awareness may be an important clue towards understanding how the brain distinguishes between self-generated and external events, and towards understanding both the brain processes and the conscious experience of being an agent. Practices like meditation can enhance cognitive processes related to self-agency as e.g. inward-attention and self-awareness. Although several EEG studies have assessed the specific impacts of meditation on brain activity, perceptual processes, and consciousness itself, it is still unclear how meditation changes sensory-motor integration processes and awareness of action. The aim of our research is to investigate not only visuomotor performance and the subjective reports of self-agency, but also the cortical correlates of the control and awareness of actions in mindfulness meditators. This will be done by studying the EEG activation pattern during a conflicting sensory-motor task, where the congruency between actions and their sensory consequences is gradually altered. This task will be presented to novices in meditation before and after an intensive 8 weeks meditation training (MBSR). The data of this sample will be compared to a group of long-term meditators and a group of healthy non-meditators. In this poster presentation only preliminary analysis of data (reaching performance and subjective sense of self-agency) will be reported.
Jose Raul NARANJO and Stefan SCHMIDT Freiburg (D)
Mindfulness as cognitive closure: A Rosenean model
From the many attempts to produce a conceptual framework for the circular organization of living systems, the notions of (M,R) systems developed by Robert Rosen(1934-1998), stand out for their rigor and their presupposition of the circularity of metabolism. Robert Rosen’s (M,R)-systems are a class of relational models with a structure that defines a necessary distinguishing feature of living-systems. This feature corresponds to the closure of an organism’s entailment relations with respect to efficient cause.
A similar situation is encountered when facing the circular organization of cognitive processes involved in mindfulness meditation. Shapiro and coworkers have advanced a minimal relational model of mindfulness as the cooperative actions of three main processes: attention (Ae), attitude (Ai), and intention (In). This model represent a good effort to identify the main building blocks of mindfulness as a network of processes, but does not explain how an stable state of mindfulness can arise from elementary cognitive processes which are subjected to decay (i.e. instability). Moreover, it leaves obscure a major feature of the mindfulness process, i.e. the interplay between self-regulation of attention and the awareness of the attentional process itself. The linkage between these two feedback loops forces the modelling process into an infinite regress, unless cognitive closure is included. We use the algebraic formulation developed by Rosen in an effort to shed light into mindfulness as an emergent process, where stability of the mindfulness state is afforded, while the mind evolves from transient states (open loops of efficient causation) to cognitive closure.
Fabian RAMSEYER and Wolfgang TSCHACHER Bern (CH)
Nonverbal Behavior in Psychotherapy: Synchronized Interaction Patterns, Global Movement Characteristics and Outcome.
Background. Nonverbal coordination between patient and therapist has been recognized as one of the crucial components of the working alliance in psychotherapy. A video-based algorithm allowed us to objectively quantify the level of coordination in dyadic psychotherapies and thus explore behavioral synchrony and its association with rapport and outcome. Methods. Nonverbal behavior was analyzed in terms of movement patterns of patient and therapist during the initial 15minutes of randomly selected psychotherapy sessions. The raw data consisted of (N=125) videotaped sessions recorded by two cameras. Motion energy analysis (MEA) was carried out by a fully automated frame-by-frame examination of video sequences. Behavioral synchrony was measured as the simultaneous or time lagged correlations between movements of interacting persons. Global movement characteristics (duration, emphasis, speed, complexity) and the amount of synchrony between patient and therapist were then related to post-session evaluations (session impact scores) and general therapy efficacy measures (global therapy outcome). Results. Findings showed that a higher quality of the therapeutic bond corresponded to higher levels of synchrony in nonverbal behavior. Furthermore, therapies with better macro outcome at the end of treatment were more likely to show significant amounts of coordinated movement. Several differences between female-male and patient-therapist movement patterns were detected. Discussion. The selected analysis showed that nonverbal synchrony in psychotherapy sessions is related to micro- and macro outcome. Coordinative nonverbal behavior of patient and therapist can thus be viewed as a crucial variable with ramifications on rapport and alliance in psychotherapy.
Stefan SCHERBAUM*, Annemarie, KALIS**, Maja DSHEMUCHADSE* and Giovanna COLOMBETTI*** *Dresden (D) / **Utrecht (NL) / ***Trento (I)
Making Decisions with a Metastable Mind
Both philosophical and psychological studies on decision-making appear to be strongly influenced by a computational model of the mind. Rational decision-making is interpreted as computation of expected values for statically represented goals (e.g. Pettit & Smith 1993, Mind, Sanfey et al 2006, TiCS) and irrational decision-making has the status of a puzzling exception to the rule (Davidson 1969, Clarendon Press). Although there are numerous theories explaining what can go wrong, the question why something goes wrong seems to defy explanation (Mele 1987, OUP).
To overcome this, we propose a perspective on decision-making based on Dynamic Systems Theory, emphasizing time and instability as constitutive factors (Clark 1997, CognitiveSci, van Gelder 1998, BehavBrainSci). It focuses on the strength of fluctuations within the metastable brain (cf. Oullier & Kelso 2006, TrendsCognSci). There is no stable and correct result at the end of a computational deliberation process, but different levels of activations of options over time (cf. Busemeyer et al. 2006, NeuralNetworks) in a metastable system that keeps a balance between dominance of one solution and chaos (Kelso, 1995, MIT Press): The possibility to decide irrationally is not only built into the system, it is a permanently coactivated option. On a dynamic approach, rational decision-making is no longer the standard form of action, and irrational decision-making no longer an exception. This offers possibilities for understanding both forms of action within a single framework.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will present a first attempt for such an empirical and philosophical framework.
Paul ZIOLO Liverpool (UK)
Artificial Generalised Intelligence: Myth or Reality?
Several projects have been launched in recent years aimed at the development of Artificial Generalised Intelligence or AGI. Following a long 'AI Winter', how close are we to the 'Singularity'? What issues, practical, computational and ethical, surround any possible realisation of recursively self-enhancing AGI? What type of intelligence might arise? Are there theoretical or practical limits to the levels of intelligence attainable through recursive self-enhancement? Can a theoretical intelligence far in excess of the human be trusted with human concerns? This paper briefly discusses Minsky's critique of computationally-based approaches, the problems surrounding embodiment and sensory perception, further implications arising from Pribram's conception of quantum brain dynamics (QBD) and the Penrose-Hameroff theory of quantum consciousness. We ask whether, given that human intelligence can be considered as a specifically-evolved type of general intelligence, 'reverse engineering' may be possible or desirable, and if not, to what extent would an AGI be compatible with human envisionings of the world and of history? Would such an advance, if realised, enhance or arrest human evolution? While it is often asserted that the enhancement of human intelligence may be preferable to that of machine intelligence, how might this be done? It is suggested that the collective inability of the international community to develop appropriate and timely strategies to deal effectively with current global problems may reflect real constraints on human cognition in the face of complex systems. If a timely realisation of AGI proves impossible, how may these constraints be transcended?
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