The abilities to attribute an action to its proper agent and to understand its meaning when it is produced by someone else are basic aspects of human social communication. Several psychiatric syndromes, such as schizophrenia, seem to lead to a dysfunction of the awareness of one’s own action as well as of recognition of actions performed by other. Such syndromes offer a framework for studying the determinants of agency, the ability to correctly attribute actions to their veridical source. Thirty normal (...) subjects and 30 schizophrenic patients with and without hallucinations and/or delusional experiences were required to execute simple finger and wrist movements, without direct visual control of their hand. The image of either their own hand or an alien hand executing the same or a different movement was presented on a TV-screen in real time. The task for the subjects was to discriminate whether the hand presented on the screen was their own or not. Hallucinating and deluded schizophrenic patients were more impaired in discriminating their own hand from the alien one than the non-hallucinating ones, and tended to misattribute the alien hand to themselves. Results are discussed according to a model of action control. A tentative description of the mechanisms leading to action consciousness is proposed. (shrink)
This study aimed at evaluating the role of proprioception in the process of matching the final position of one's limbs with an intentional movement. Two experiments were realised with the same paradigm of conscious recognition of one's own limb position from a distorted position. In the first experiment, 22 healthy subjects performed the task in an active and in a passive condition. In the latter condition, proprioception was the only available information since the central signals related to the motor command (...) were likely to be absent. The second experiment was realised with a deafferented patient who suffers from a complete haptic deafferentation, including loss of proprioception. The results first argue in favour of a dominant role of proprioception in action recognition, but they also stress the possible role of central signals. The process of matching the final position of one's limbs with an intended movement and thus of action recognition would be achieved through a comparison process between the predicted sensory consequences of the action, which are stored in its internal model, and the actual sensory consequences of that action. (shrink)
Pierre Maquet1,2,6, Steven Laureys1,2, Philippe Peigneux1,2,3, Sonia Fuchs1, Christophe Petiau1, Christophe Phillips1,6, Joel Aerts1, Guy Del Fiore1, Christian Degueldre1, Thierry Meulemans3, André Luxen1, Georges Franck1,2, Martial Van Der Linden3, Carlyle Smith4 and Axel Cleeremans5.
Contemporary experimental research has emphasised the role of centrally generated signals arising from premotor areas in voluntary muscular force perception. It is therefore generally accepted that judgements of force are based on a central sense, known as the sense of effort, rather than on a sense of intra-muscular tension. Interestingly, the concept of effort is also present in the classical philosophy: to the French philosopher Maine de Biran [Maine de Biran . Mémoire sur la décomposition de la pensée , Vrin, (...) Paris ], the sense of effort is the fundamental component of self-experience, the landmark of the exercise of the will. In the present review, after a presentation of the nature and neurophysiological bases of effort sensation, we will examine its possible involvement in the neurocognitive process of agency. We will further focus on delusions of alien control in schizophrenic patients. Experimental data suggest that these patients have an abnormal awareness of effort caused by cerebral anomalies in the frontal and parietal lobes. (shrink)
We present a self-organizing approach to sentence processing that sheds new light on notional plurality effects in agreement attraction, using pseudopartitive subject noun phrases. We first show that notional plurality ratings predict verb agreement choices in pseudopartitives, in line with the “Marking” component of the Marking and Morphing theory of agreement processing. However, no account to date has derived notional plurality values from independently needed principles of language processing. We argue on the basis of new experimental evidence and a dynamical (...) systems model that the theoretical black box of notional plurality can be unpacked into objectively measurable semantic features. With these semantic features driving structure formation, our model reproduces the human verb production patterns as a byproduct of normal processing. Finally, we discuss how the self-organizing approach might be extended to other agreement attraction phenomena. (shrink)
Motor imagery provides a direct insight into action representations. The aim of the present study was to investigate the level of impairment of action monitoring in schizophrenia by evaluating the performance of schizophrenic patients on mental rotation tasks. We raised the following questions: Are schizophrenic patients impaired in motor imagery both at the explicit and at the implicit level? Are body parts more difficult for them to mentally rotate than objects? Is there any link between the performance and the hallucinating (...) symptom profile? The schizophrenic patients displayed the same pattern of performance as the control subjects . More particularly, schizophrenic patients’ reaction time varied as a function of the angular disparity of the stimuli. On the other hand, they were significantly slower and less accurate. Interestingly, patients suffering from hallucinations made significantly more errors than non-hallucinatory patients. We discussed these latter results in terms of deficit of the forward model. We emphasized the necessity to distinguish different levels of action, more or less impaired in schizophrenia. (shrink)
Whoever paid the bill at the restaurant last night, will clearly remember doing it. Independently from the type of action, it is a common experience that being the agent provides a special strength to our memories. Even if it is generally agreed that personal memories (episodic memory) rely on separate neural substrates with respect to general knowledge (semantic memory), little is known on the nature of the link between memory and the sense of agency. In the present paper, we review (...) results from two experiments investigating the effects of agency on both explicit and implicit memory traces. Performance of normal subjects is compared to that of schizophrenic patients in order to explore the role of awareness of action on memory. It is proposed that reliable first-person information is necessary to create a stable and coherent motor memory trace. (shrink)
Panpsychism is the doctrine that mind is a fundamental feature of the world existing throughout the universe. One problem with panpsychism is that it is a purely theoretical concept so far. For progress towards an operationalization of the idea, this paper suggests to make use of an ontological difference involved in the mind-matter distinction. The mode in which mental phenomena exist is called presence. The mode in which matter and radiation exist is called reality Physical theory disregards presence in both (...) the form of mental presence and the form of the temporal present In contrast to mental presence the temporal present is objective in the perspective of the third person. This relative kind of objectivity waits to be utilized for a hypothesis of how the mental and the physical are interrelated In order to do so this paper translates the mind-matter distinction into the distinction between mental and physical time and addresses the problem that panpsychism tries to attack head-on in these temporal terms. There are in particular , two issues thus getting involved: discussions about a time observable and the quantum Zeno effect. (shrink)
From the resurrection of body to eternal recurrence -- The shadow of God -- The guiding thread -- The logic of the body -- The system of identical cases -- From eternal recurrence to the resurrection of body.
Noam Chomsky applies a rational, scientific approach to disciplines as diverse as linguistics, ethics, and politics. His best-known innovations involve a groundbreaking theory of generative grammar, the revolution it initiated in cognitive science, and a radical encounter with political theory and practice. In _Chomsky Notebook_, Cedric Boeckx and Norbert Hornstein tackle the evolution of Chomsky's linguistic theory. Akeel Bilgrami revisits Chomsky's work on freedom and truth, and Pierre Jacob analyzes his naturalism. Chomsky's own contributions include an interview with Jean Bricmont (...) and an essay each on Edward Said and the natural world. Altogether, these works reveal the penetrating insight of a remarkable intellectual whose thought extends into a number of fields within and outside of academia. For the uninitiated reader and longtime fan, this anthology attests to the power of Chomsky's rationalism and the dexterity of his critical investigations. (shrink)
Summary. It is proposed to translate the mind-matter distinction into terms of mental and physical time. In the spirit of this idea, we hypothesize a relation between the intensity of mental presence and a crucial time scale (some seconds) often referred to as a measure for the duration of nowness. This duration is experimentally accessible and might, thus, offer a suitable way to characterize the intensity of mental presence. Interesting consequences with respect to the idea of a generalized notion of (...) mental presence, with human consciousness as a special case, are outlined. Our approach includes some features consistent with other, related ideas which are indicated. (shrink)
For years, phenomenological psychiatry has proposed that distortions of the temporal structure of consciousness contribute to the abnormal experiences described before schizophrenia emerges, and may relate to basic disturbances in consciousness of the self. However, considering that temporality refers mainly to an implicit aspect of our relationship with the world, disturbances in the temporal structure of consciousness remain difficult to access. Nonetheless, previous studies have shown a correlation between self disorders and the automatic ability to expect an event in time, (...) suggesting timing is a key issue for the psychopathology of schizophrenia. Timing disorders may represent a target for cognitive remediation, but this requires that disorders can be demonstrated at an individual level. Since cognitive impairments in patients with schizophrenia are discrete, and there is no standardized timing exploration, we focused on timing impairments suggested to be related to self disorders. We present the case report of AF, a 22 year old man suffering from schizophrenia, with no antipsychotic intake. Although AF shows few positive and negative symptoms and has a normal neurocognitive assessment, he shows a high level of disturbance of Minimal Self Disorders (SDs) (assessed with the EASE scale). Moreover, AF has a rare ability to describe his self and time difficulties. An objective assessment of timing ability (variable foreperiod task) confirmed that AF had temporal impairments similar to those previously described in patients, i.e., a preserved ability to distinguish time intervals, but a difficulty to benefit from the passage of time to expect a visual stimulus. He presents additional difficulties in benefitting from temporal cues and adapting to changes in time delays. The impairments were ample enough to yield significant effects with analyses at the individual level. Although causal relationships between subjective and objective impairments cannot be established, the results show that exploring timing deficits at the individual level is possible in patients with schizophrenia. Besides, the results are consistent with hypotheses relating minimal self disorders (SDs) to timing difficulties. They suggest that both subjective and objective timing investigations should be developed further so that their use at an individual level can be generalized in clinical practice. (shrink)
When a single beam-splitter receives two beams of bosons described by Fock states (Bose-Einstein condensates at very low temperatures), interesting generalizations of the two-photon Hong-Ou-Mandel effect take place for larger number of particles. The distributions of particles at two detectors behind the beam splitter can be understood as resulting from the combination of two effects, the spontaneous phase appearing during quantum measurement, and the quantum angle. The latter introduces quantum “population oscillations”, which can be seen as a generalized Hong-Ou-Mandel effect, (...) although they do not always correspond to even-odd oscillations. (shrink)