C o n t e n t


Ed. D. Legrand

Consciousness and Cognition, 2007 (16/3)
[science direct]

Introduction: Legrand D [request .pdf]
Subjectivity and the body: Introducing basic forms of self-consciousness


Legrand D [request .pdf]
Pre-Reflective Self-as-Subject from Experiential and Empirical perspectives.
: In the first part of this paper I characterize a minimal form of self-consciousness, namely pre-reflective self-consciousness. It is a constant structural feature of conscious experience, and corresponds to the consciousness of the self-as-subject that is not taken as an intentional object. In the second part, I argue that contemporary cognitive neuroscience has by and large missed this fundamental form of self-consciousness in its investigation of various forms of self-experience. In the third part, I exemplify how the notion of pre-reflective self-awareness can be of relevance for empirical research. In particular, I propose to interpret processes of sensorimotor integration in light of the phenomenological approach that allows the definition of pre-reflective self-consciousness.
Commentary: Zahavi D [request .pdf]

DePreester H
[request .pdf]
Two bodily layers in the constitution of the conscious perspective.

Abstract: The naturalization of consciousness and the way a subjective perspective arises are hotly debated both in the cognitive sciences and in more strictly philosophical contexts. A number of these debates, mainly inspired by neuroscientific findings, focus on the ‘visceral’ dimension of the body in order to formulate a hypothesis for the coming about of consciousness. This focus on what might be called the ‘in-depth body’ (which is usually not governed by the intentions of the subject) shows that consciousness or the subjective perspective is intimately linked with vital and visceral regulatory processes. I join the debate by arguing that representationalist accounts of the origin of consciousness in the in-depth body exhibit a number of flaws hitherto mainly unnoticed. Furthermore, some aspects of neuroscientific theories are explored as possible validations of a nonrepresentationalist model of consciousness and the subjective perspective. Inspired by phenomenological (more specifically Husserlian) philosophy, I present a hypothesis in which the subjective perspective constitutes itself ( in a process of autoconstitution) and in which the ‘in-depth’ body is not the object of representations in the brain. Rather, the ‘in-depth body’ is in a non-objectified way built-in in the subjective perspective itself. In this account, therefore, the subjective perspective looses its transparency and gains ‘interoceptive thickness’.
Commentary: Petit JL
[request .pdf]

Cosmelli D & Thompson E
[request .pdf]
Mountains and Valleys: Binocular Rivalry and the Flow of Human Experience.

Abstract: Binocular rivalry provides a useful situation for studying the relation between the temporal flow of conscious experience and the temporal dynamics of neural activity. After proposing a phenomenological framework for understanding temporal aspects of consciousness, we review experimental research on multistable perception and binocular rivalry, singling out various methodological, theoretical, and empirical aspects of this research relevant to studying the flow of experience. We then review an experimental study from our group explicitly concerned with relating the temporal dynamics of rivalrous experience to the temporal dynamics of cortical activity. Drawing attention to the importance of dealing with ongoing activity and its inherent changing nature at both phenomenological and neurodynamical levels, we argue that the notions of recurrence and variability are pertinent to understanding rivalry in particular and the flow of experience in general.
Commentary: Livet P
[request .pdf]

Tsakiris M, Bosbach S & Gallagher S
[request .pdf]
On Agency and Body-Ownership: phenomenological and neuroscientific reflections.
Abstract: The recent distinction between sense of agency and sense of body-ownership (see Gallagher, 2000; Marcel, 2003) has attracted considerable empirical and theoretical interest. The respective contributions of central motor signals and peripheral afferent signals to these two varieties of body experience remain unknown. In the present review, we consider the methodological problems encountered in the empirical study of agency and body-ownership, and we then present a series of experiments that study the interplay between motor and sensory information. In particular, we focus on how multisensory signals interact with body representations to generate the sense of body-ownership, and how the sense of agency modulates the sense of body-ownership. Finally, we consider the respective roles of efferent and afferent signals for the experience of one’s own body and actions, in relation to self-recognition and the recognition of other people’s actions. We suggest that the coherent experience of the body depends on the integration of efferent information with afferent information in action contexts. Overall, whereas afferent signals provide the distinctive content of one’s own body experience, efferent signals seem to structure the experience of one’s own body in an integrative and coherent way.
Commentary: Blanke O [request .pdf]


Coello Y, Delevoye-Turrell Y [request .pdf]
Embodiment, Spatial Categorization and Action.

Abstract: Recent data in cognitive neurosciences suggest that spatial categorisation is not a disembodied phenomenon but is rather shaped by body capabilities and body representations. Here, we suggest that even if we have the subjective experience of a continuous and coherent visual world, the perception of space in relation to action is necessarily constrained by the spatial resolution of the visual system but also and above all by pre-reflective representations of the body in action. Empirical data will be presented to show that multidimensional categorisation of perceptual space depends on body representations at both the experiential and functional level. Results will also be resumed that show that representations of the body in action must be pre-reflective because only some aspects of these pre-reflective states can be consciously experienced. A neuro-cognitive model based on the integration of afferent and efferent information will be presented, which suggests that action simulation and associated sensory predicted states may represent the underlying principle that enables a pre-reflective sense of the body for space categorisation and selection for action.
Commentary: Pachoud B [request .pdf]

Legrand D, Brozzoli C, Rossetti Y &
Farnè A [request .pdf]
Close to me: Multisensory space representations for action
and pre-reflexive consciousness of oneself-in-the-world.

Abstract: Philosophical considerations as well as several recent studies from neurophysiology, neuropsychology, and psychophysics converged in showing that the peripersonal space (i.e. closely surrounding the body-parts) is structured in a body-centred manner and represented through integrated sensory inputs. Multisensory representations may deserve the function of coding peripersonal space for avoiding or interacting with objects. Neuropsychological evidence is reviewed for dynamic interactions between space representations and action execution, as revealed by the behavioural effects that the use of a tool, as a physical extension of the reachable space, produces on visual-tactile extinction. In particular, tool-use transiently modifies action space representation in a functionally effective way. The possibility is discussed that the investigation of multisensory space representations for action provides an empirical way to consider in its specificity pre-reflexive self-consciousness by considering the intertwining of self-relatedness and object-directness of spatial experience shaped by multisensory and sensorimotor integrations.
Commentary: Gallagher S [request .pdf]

Cermolacce M, Naudin J & Parnas J [request .pdf]
The “minimal self” in psychopathology: re-examining the self-disorders in the schizophrenia spectrum.
Abstract: The notion of minimal, basic, pre-reflective or core self is currently debated in the philosophy of mind, cognitive sciences and developmental psychology. However, it is not clear which experiential features such a self is believed to possess. Studying the schizophrenic experience may help exploring the following aspects of the minimal self: the notion of perspective and first person perspective, the ‘mineness’ of the phenomenal field, the questions of transparency, embodiment of point of view, and the issues of agency and ownership, considered as different and less fundamental than the feeling of mineness. Two clinical vignettes of patients with the diagnosis of schizophrenia will be presented: the first one, illustrating early illness stages, and the second case, of chronic schizophrenia, symptomatically marked by persistent hallucinations. Through their analysis, we will discuss the experiential dimensions of minimal self.
Commentary: Mishara A
[request .pdf]


Laureys S, Perrin F & Bredart S [request .pdf]
Self-consciousness in non-communicative patients.

Abstract: The clinical and para-clinical examination of residual self-consciousness in non-communicative severely brain damaged patients (i.e., coma, vegetative state and minimally conscious state) remains exceptionally challenging. Passive presentation of the patient’s own name and own face are known to be effective attention-grabbing stimuli when clinically assessing consciousness at the patient’s bedside. Event-related potential and functional neuroimaging studies using such self-referential stimuli are currently being used to disentangle the cognitive hierarchy of self-processing. We here review neuropsychological, neuropathological, electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies using the own name and own face paradigm obtained in conscious waking, sleep, pharmacological coma, pathological coma and related disorders of consciousness. Based on these results we discuss what we currently do and do not know about the functional significance of the neural network involved in “automatic” and “conscious” self-referential processing.
Commentary: Cole J [request .pdf]


Petitmengin C, Navarro, V & Le Van Quyen M [request .pdf]
Anticipating Seizure.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to show through the concrete example of epileptic seizure anticipation how neuro-dynamic analysis (using new mathematical tools to detect the dynamic structure of the neuro-electric activity of the brain) and "pheno-dynamic" analysis (using new interview techniques to detect the pre-reflective dynamic micro-structure of the corresponding subjective experience) may guide and determine each other. We will show that this dynamic approach to epileptic seizure makes it possible to consolidate the foundations of a cognitive non pharmacological therapy of epilepsy. We will also show through this example how the neuro-phenomenological codetermination could shed new light on the difficult problem of the "gap" which separates subjective experience from neurophysiological activity.
Commentary: Lutz A
[request .pdf]