Sensoryaugmentation challenges current societal norms and views of what is conceived as a “normal” human being. Beginning with self reflections of a bodyhacker, the author proposes an extended view onto the human or respectively cyborg body. Based on cognitive theories, it is argumented that we are already mental cyborgs. Our brains plastically restructure themselves in order to meet new requirements of the technological extended human.
It is hoped that modern sensory substitution and augmentation devices will be able to replace or expand our senses. But to what extent has this been achieved to date? To what extent are the experiences created by sensory substitution devices like the sensory experiences that we are trying to replace? To what extent can we augment people’s senses providing them with new information and new experiences? The first aim of this introduction is to delve deeply into (...) this question to discover the usefulness of these devices, to outline the different sorts of experience that might be created, and what the evidence tells us about these experiences. While there are some reasons to be hopeful about the powers of sensory substitution devices, there are also reasons to wonder whether they will ever really have the practical applications that we hope they might have. The second aim is to look to see whether the study of modern sensory substitution and augmentation devices can shed light on the nature of our senses and perception in general. Much of the philosophical, psychological, and neuroscientific work that takes place concerning sensory substitution and augmentation is keenly aware of the possibility that it might help our understanding and it seeks to comprehend many different aspects of perception. (shrink)
Sensory substitution and augmentation devices are used to replace or enhance one sense by using another. Fiona Macpherson brings together neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers to focus on the nature of the perceptual experiences, the sensory interactions, and the changes that occur in the mind and brain while using these technologies.
This is an excerpt from a report on the Sensory Substitution and Augmentation Conference at the British Academy in March of 2013. This portion of the report explores the question: Does sensory substitution generate perceptual or cognitive states?
This is an excerpt from a report on the Sensory Substitution and Augmentation Conference at the British Academy in March of 2013. This portion of the report explores the question: Can normal non-sensory feelings be generated through sensory substitution?
This is an excerpt from a report on the Sensory Substitution and Augmentation Conference at the British Academy in March of 2013. This portion of the report explores the question: What can sensory substitution tell us about perceptual learning?
This is an excerpt from a report on the Sensory Substitution and Augmentation Conference at the British Academy in March of 2013. This portion of the report explores the question: How does sensory substitution interact with the brain’s architecture?
This is an excerpt from a report on the Sensory Substitution and Augmentation Conference at the British Academy in March of 2013. This portion of the report explores the question: What are the limitations of sensory substitution.
Human augmentation is discussed in three axes: the technological means, the ability being augmented, and the social systems that will be affected. The technological augmentations considered range from exocortical information and communication systems, to pharmaceuticals, tissue and genetic engineering, and prosthetic limbs and organs, to eventually nanomedical robotics, brain-computer interfaces and cognitive prostheses. These technologies are mapped onto the capabilities which we are in the process of enabling and augmenting, which include extending longevity and physical, sensory and cognitive (...) abilities, and enabling control over emotions, moral behavior, and spiritual experience. The impacts of augmentation on the family, education, economy, politics and religion are considered individually, but their aggregate effects will be non-linear and drive complex adaptations in the living machine that is our co-evolved techno-social civilization. (shrink)
When a user integrates a sensory substitution device into her life, the process involves perceptual learning, that is, ‘relatively long-lasting changes to an organism’s perceptual system that improve its ability to respond to its environment’ (Goldstone 1998: 585). In this paper, I explore ways in which the extensive literature on perceptual learning can be applied to help improve sensory substitution devices. I then use these findings to answer a philosophical question. Much of the philosophical debate surrounding sensory (...) substitution devices concerns what happens after perceptual learning occurs. In particular, should the resultant perceptual experience be classified in the substituted modality (as vision), in the substituting modality (as auditory or tactile), or in a new sense modality? I propose a novel empirical test to help resolve this philosophical debate. (shrink)
Sensory substitution devices provide through an unusual sensory modality (the substituting modality, e.g., audition) access to features of the world that are normally accessed through another sensory modality (the substituted modality, e.g., vision). In this article, we address the question of which sensory modality the acquired perception belongs to. We have recourse to the four traditional criteria that have been used to define sensory modalities: sensory organ, stimuli, properties, and qualitative experience (Grice, 1962), to (...) which we have added the criteria of behavioral equivalence (Morgan, 1977), dedication (Keeley, 2002), and sensorimotor equivalence (O’Regan & Noe¨, 2001). We discuss which of them are fulfilled by perception through sensory substitution devices and whether this favors the view that perception belongs to the substituting or to the substituted modality. Though the application of a number of criteria might be taken to point to the conclusion that perception with a sensory substitution device belongs to the substituted modality, we argue that the evidence leads to an alternative view on sensory substitution. According to this view, the experience after sensory substitution is a transformation, extension, or augmentation of our perceptual capacities, rather than being something equivalent or reducible to an already existing sensory modality. We develop this view by comparing sensory substitution devices to other ‘‘mind-enhancing tools’’ such as pen and paper, sketchpads, or calculators. An analysis of sensory substitution in terms of mind-enhancing tools unveils it as a thoroughly transforming perceptual experience and as giving rise to a novel form of perceptual interaction with the environment. (shrink)
One of the central limitations of sensory substitution devices (SSDs) is their inability to reproduce the non-sensory feelings that are normally associated with visual experiences, especially hedonic and aesthetic responses. This limitation is sometimes reported to cause SSD users frustration. To make matters worse, it is unclear that improvements in acuity, bandwidth, or training will resolve the issue. Yet, if SSDs are to actually reproduce visual experience in its fullness, it seems that the reproduction of non-sensory feelings (...) will be of some importance. We offer a novel solution. Researchers can produce hedonic and aesthetic responses by eliciting these feelings artificially, pairing distal objects that should be pleasurable to pleasurable stimulus outputs from the SSD. We outline two strategies for accomplishing this: first, by means of a prefixed, hardwired, association of pleasant distal objects to pleasant stimulus outputs from the SSD; second, by means of a flexible, feedback-based association which creates associations based on a subject-directed matching of distal objects to patterns of stimuli from the SSD which the subject takes to have the corresponding hedonic properties. We evaluate some problems with both strategies, and we argue that the feedback-based strategy is more promising. Researchers can use this strategy to help the blind, allowing them to take pleasure in the objects they perceive using SSDs. (shrink)
Man has built tools to extend his visual experience in order to explore reality beyond his sensory capacity, for example microscopes, telescopes, high shutter speed and infrared cameras. However he has yet to build a tool to fully explore visual realms beyond his ordinary cognitive faculties. With the development of computing, comes the possibility of building a tool to explore the virtual forms/spaces of images that are ordinarily inaccessible to the mind. This article identifies how cognition is ordinarily limited (...) and posits a way of going beyond those limits, by defining a computational model of how those virtual forms/spaces might be created. This definition is based on brief but repeated empirical experiences of ‘higher order’ manifestations. (shrink)
Despite the power of VR in immersing viewers in an experience, it generally only targets viewers via visual and auditory cues. Human beings use more senses to gather information, so expectedly, the full potential of this medium is currently not yet tapped. This study contributes in answering two research questions: How can conventional VR ads be enriched by also addressing the forgotten sense of smell?; and Does doing so indeed instill more engaging experiences? A 2 × 3 between-subjects study is (...) conducted, whereby an existing branded VR commercial is augmented with “sound” and “scents.” The power of these sensory augmentations is evaluated by inspecting emotional, cognitive and conative dimensions of customer engagement. The results identify product-scent congruence as a deal-maker, albeit product-scent incongruence is not necessarily a deal-breaker. The article concludes with further research avenues and a translation into managerial implications. (shrink)
A refined characterisation of sensory substitution has, as a consequence, that the substituting sense plus sensory substitution device is not always appropriately classified as the substituted sense. As a result, I argue, acclimatisation to a sensory substitution device is plausibly thought of as providing presentations of properties. Externalist accounts of experience together with objectivist characterisations of such properties have the upshot that properties putatively proprietary to a sense modality can be presented in another modality in cases of (...) substitution. I consider three objections to this argument. I close by explaining how reflection on the phenomena of sensory substitution and, in particular, acclimatisation is important for the development of any kind of representationalist or relationist theory of phenomenal properties or, at the very least, suggests we need to refine the idea of certain properties - rather than particular ways in which their presentation is bundled together - being proprietary to the particular senses. (shrink)
Is the endeavour to restore perceptive brain functions by electronic implants the first step on the way to create bionic cyborgs? Can we augment or multiply our senses by directly contacting computer chips to the brain? Will bio-implants influence and permanently change human psyche?Almost 50 years ago, the foundation of the new field of neuroprosthetics propelled research aimed at devising a seamless connection between the human nervous system and microelectronic implants.The complexity of sensory perception often renders the task of (...) assessing efficacy and side effects of a sensory implant impossible when computer simulation and animal experimentation alone are employed. Historical development in this field has shown that some of the evaluation has to be done in investigations performed directly in the human.The consequences of such a technology will not be confined to medicine alone. This paper describes its development, state of the art, limiting factors, and future possibilities. It offers an introduction into the elementary prerequisites of neural interfacing as a basis for argumentation in the upcoming public debate.The advancement of sensory implants for the restitution or augmentation of impaired brain function requires a moral and ethical position not only of the scientist involved, but of all the society, similar to the fields of psychopharmacology and stem cell research. (shrink)
According to proponents of the sensorimotor contingency theory of perception (Hurley & Noë 2003, Noë 2004, O’Regan 2011), active control of camera movement is necessary for the emergence of distal attribution in tactile-visual sensory substitution (TVSS) because it enables the subject to acquire knowledge of the way stimulation in the substituting modality varies as a function of self-initiated, bodily action. This chapter, by contrast, approaches distal attribution as a solution to a causal inference problem faced by the subject’s perceptual (...) systems. Given all of the available endogenous and exogenous evidence available to those systems, what is the most probable source of stimulation in the substituting modality? From this perspective, active control over the camera’s movements matters for rather different reasons. Most importantly, it generates proprioceptive and efference-copy based information about the camera’s body-relative position necessary to make use of the spatial cues present in the stimulation that the subject receives for purposes of egocentric object localization. (shrink)
There is an overlooked similarity between three classic accounts of the conditions of object experience from three distinct disciplines. Sociology: the “inversion” that accompanies discovery in the natural sciences, as local causes of effects are reattributed to an observed object. Psychology: the “externalization” that accompanies mastery of a visual–tactile sensory substitution interface, as tactile sensations of the proximal interface are transformed into vision-like experience of a distal object. Biology: the “projection” that brings forth an animal’s Umwelt, as impressions on (...) its body’s sensory surfaces are reconfigured into perception of an external object. This similarity between the effects of scientific practice and interface-use on the one hand, and of sensorimotor interaction on the other, becomes intelligible once we accept that skillful engagement with instruments and interfaces constitutes a socio-material augmentation of our basic perceptual capacity. This enactive interpretation stands in contrast to anti-realism about science associated with constructivist interpretations of these three phenomena, which are motivated by viewing them as the internal mental construction of the experienced object. Instead, it favors a participatory realism: the sensorimotor basis of perceptual experience loops not only through our body, but also through the external world. This allows us to conceive of object experience in relational terms, i.e., as one or more subjects directly engaging with the world. Consequently, we can appreciate scientific observation in its full complexity: it is a socio-materially augmented process of becoming acquainted with the observed object that—like tool-use and perceiving more generally—is irreducibly self, other-, and world-involving. (shrink)
According to the hypothesis of extended phenomenal consciousness, although the material vehicles that realize phenomenal consciousness include neural elements, they are not restricted to such elements. There will be cases in which those material vehicles additionally include not only non-neural bodily elements, but also elements located beyond the skull and skin. In this paper, I examine two arguments for ExPC, one due to Noë and the other due to Kiverstein and Farina. Both of these arguments conclude that ExPC is true (...) on the basis of an analysis of sensory substitution, the phenomenon in which technological augmentation enables one sensory modality, for instance touch, to support the kind of environmental access and interaction ordinarily supported by a different sensory modality, for instance vision. I develop considerations which reveal that, as they stand, both of these arguments fall short. If the phenomenon of sensory substitution provides evidence for the truth of ExPC, it is not because of the specific arguments offered by these authors. (shrink)
Humans routinely modify their walking speed to adapt to functional goals and physical demands. However, damage to the central nervous system often results in abnormal modulation of walking speed and increased risk of falls. There is considerable interest in treatment modalities that can provide safe and salient training opportunities, feedback about walking performance, and that may augment less reliable sensory feedback within the CNS after injury or disease. Fully immersive virtual reality technologies show benefits in boosting training-related gains in (...) walking performance; however, they lack views of the real world that may limit functional carryover. Augmented reality and mixed reality head-mount displays provide partially immersive environments to extend the virtual reality benefits of interacting with virtual objects but within an unobstructed view of the real world. Despite this potential advantage, the feasibility of using MR-HMD visual feedback to promote goal-directed changes in overground walking speed remains unclear. Thus, we developed and evaluated a novel mixed reality application using the Microsoft HoloLens MR-HMD that provided real-time walking speed targets and augmented visual feedback during overground walking. We tested the application in a group of adults not living with disability and examined if they could use the targets and visual feedback to walk at 85%, 100%, and 115% of each individual’s self-selected speed. We examined whether individuals were able to meet each target gait speed and explored differences in accuracy across repeated trials and at the different speeds. Additionally, given the importance of task-specificity to therapeutic interventions, we examined if walking speed adjustment strategies were consistent with those observed during usual overground walking, and if walking with the MR-HMD resulted in increased variability in gait parameters. Overall, participants matched their overground walking speed to the target speed of the MR-HMD visual feedback conditions. The percent inaccuracy was approximately 5% across all speed matching conditions and remained consistent across walking trials after the first overall walking trial. Walking with the MR-HMD did not result in more variability in walking speed, however, we observed more variability in stride length and time when walking with feedback from the MR-HMD compared to walking without feedback. The findings offer support for mixed reality-based visual feedback as a method to provoke goal-specific changes in overground walking behavior. Further studies are necessary to determine the clinical safety and efficacy of this MR-HMD technology to provide extrinsic sensory feedback in combination with traditional treatments in rehabilitation. (shrink)
While shaping and defending a criterion to individuate the sensory modalities, philosophers have to deal with groups of perceptual states that don’t fit into the catalogue of the senses comfortably. I call these groups «grey areas». In this paper, I present the «artificial grey area», which is about perceptions obtained through artificial devices that replace or augment one’s sensory abilities. More precisely, the spotlight is on the results that the experiential criterion, the experiential-ontological criterion and the subtractive criterion (...) provide when artificially-assisted perceptions fall under their scope. The main theses of the paper are that each sensory device allows users to access a peculiar sensory world, and that each of these worlds should be associated with a peculiar, independent sensory modality. (shrink)
Most animals have significant behavioral expertise built in without having to explicitly learn it all from scratch. This expertise is a product of evolution of the organism; it can be viewed as a very long term form of learning which provides a structured system within which individuals might learn more specialized skills or abilities. This paper suggests one possible mechanism for analagous robot evolution by describing a carefully designed series of networks, each one being a strict augmentation of the (...) previous one, which control a six legged walking machine capable of walking over rough terrain and following a person passively sensed in the infrared spectrum. As the completely decentralized networks are augmented. the robot’s performance and behavior repetoire demonstrably improve. The rationale for such demonstrations is that they may provide a hint as to the requirements for automatically building massive networks to carry out complex sensory-motor tasks. The experiments with an actual robot ensure that an essence of reality is maintained and that no critical disabling problems have been ignored. (shrink)
Sense of agency is a compelling but fragile experience that is augmented or attenuated by internal signals and by external cues. A disruption in SoA may characterise individual symptoms of mental illness such as delusions of control. Indeed, it has been argued that generic SoA disturbances may lie at the heart of delusions and hallucinations that characterise schizophrenia. A clearer understanding of how sensorimotor, perceptual and environmental cues complement, or compete with, each other in engendering SoA may prove valuable in (...) deepening our understanding the agency disruptions that characterise certain focal neurological disorders and mental illnesses. Here we examine the integration of SoA cues in health and illness, describing a simple framework of this integration based on Bayesian principles. We extend this to consider how alterations in cue integration may lead to aberrant experiences of agency. (shrink)
Consciousness exists in time, but time is also to be found within consciousness: we are directly aware of both persistence and change, at least over short intervals. On reflection this can seem baffling. How is it possible for us to be immediately aware of phenomena which are not (strictly speaking) present? What must consciousness be like for this to be possible? In "Stream of Consciousness" I argued that influential accounts of phenomenal temporality along the lines developed by Broad and Husserl (...) were fundamentally flawed, and proposed a quite different account: the overlap model. While recognizing that the latter has merits, Gallagher argues that it too is fundamentally flawed; he also takes issue with some of my claims concerning Broad and Husserl. My reply comes in three main parts. I start by clarifying my use of certain terms, in particular realism and anti-realism as applied to theories of phenomenal temporality in general, and the accounts of Broad and Husserl in particular. I then turn to Gallagher’s main criticisms of the overlap theory. Gallagher argues that the theory is sunk by a problem with ongoing contents, that if our experience possessed the structures I ascribe to it, we would be aware of contents as having longer durations than is actually the case. I suggest otherwise: the version of the overlap theory which is afflicted by this difficulty is not the version I put forward, as becomes clear when two distinct forms of overlap are distinguished. Gallagher is also concerned that the theory lacks phenomenological grounding, and has difficulties with experiential holism. The latter worry, I argue, is completely misplaced. While the former has more warrant, it too is rooted in a misconception: the overlap theory was intended only to provide an account of the most basic sensory components of our short-term experience of temporality, and can easily be expanded to accommodate other aspects. I supply a sketch an augmented theory to back up this claim. I conclude with an assessment of the intentional account of time-consciousness Gallagher ascribes to Husserl. A meaning-based account of this kind is incapable of accounting for experienced sensory continuity, or so I argue. I also suggest that both Broad and Husserl may have had leanings towards the Simple Conception of consciousness. -/- . (shrink)
Recent advances in cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience open up new vistas for human enhancement. Central to much of this work is the idea of new human-machine interfaces (in general) and new brain-machine interfaces (in particular). But despite the increasing prominence of such ideas, the very idea of such an interface remains surprisingly under-explored. In particular, the notion of human enhancement suggests an image of the embodied and reasoning agent as literally extended or augmented, rather than the more conservative image (...) of a standard (non-enhanced) agent using a tool via some new interface. In this essay, I explore this difference, and attempt to lay out some of the conditions under which the more radical reading (positing brand new integrated agents or systemic wholes) becomes justified. I adduce some empirical evidence suggesting that the radical result is well within our scientific reach. The main reason why this is so has less to do with the advancement of our science (though that certainly helps) than with our native biological plasticity. We humans, I shall try to show, are biologically disposed towards literal (and repeated) episodes of sensory re-calibration, of bodily re-configuration and of mental extension. Such potential for literal and repeated re-configuration is the mark of what I shall call "profoundly embodied agency," contrasting it with a variety of weaker (less philosophically and scientifically interesting) understandings of the nature and importance of embodiment for minds and persons. The article ends by relating the image of profound embodiment to some questions (and fears) concerning converging technologies for improving human performance. (shrink)
Recent research has begun to investigate sensory processing in relation to nonclinical variation in traits associated with the autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We propose that existing accounts of autistic perception can be augmented by considering a role for individual differences in top-down expectations for the precision of sensory input, related to the processing of state-dependent levels of uncertainty. We therefore examined ASD-like traits in relation to the rubber-hand illusion: an experimental paradigm that typically elicits crossmodal integration of visual, (...) tactile, and proprioceptive information in an unusual illusory context. Individuals with higher ASD-like traits showed reduced effects of the rubber-hand illusion on perceived arm position and reach-to-grasp movements, compared to individuals with lower ASD-like traits. These differences occurred despite both groups reporting the typical subjective experience of the illusion concerning visuotactile integration and ownership for the rubber hand. Together these results suggest that the integration of proprioceptive information with cues for arm position derived from the illusory context differs between individuals partly in relation to traits associated with ASD. We suggest that the observed differences in sensory integration can be best explained in terms of differing expectations regarding the precision of sensory estimates in contexts that suggest uncertainty. (shrink)
We investigate the dynamics of sensory integration for perceiving musical performance, a complex natural behavior. Thirty musically trained participants saw, heard, or both saw and heard, performances by two clarinetists. All participants used a sliding potentiometer to make continuous judgments of tension (a measure correlated with emotional response) and continuous judgments of phrasing (a measure correlated with perceived musical structure) as performances were presented. The data analysis sought to reveal relations between the sensory modalities (vision and audition) and (...) to quantify the effect of seeing the performances on participants' overall subjective experience of the music. In addition to traditional statistics, functional data analysis techniques were employed to analyze time-varying aspects of the data. The auditory and visual channels were found to convey similar experiences of phrasing but different experiences of tension through much of the performances. We found that visual information served both to augment and to reduce the experience of tension at different points in the musical piece (as revealed by functional linear modeling and functional significance testing). In addition, the musicians' movements served to extend the sense of phrasing, to cue the beginning of new phrases, to indicate musical interpretation, and to anticipate changes in emotional content. Evidence for an interaction effect suggests that there may exist an emergent quality when musical performances are both seen and heard. The investigation augments knowledge of human communicative processes spanning language and music, and involving multiple modalities of emotion and information transfer. (shrink)
The reality-virtuality continuum encompasses a multitude of objects, events and environments ranging from real-world multisensory inputs to interactive multisensory virtual simulators, in which sensory integration can involve very different combinations of both physical and digital inputs. These different ways of stimulating the senses can affect the consumer’s consciousness, potentially altering their judgements and behaviours. In this perspective paper, we explore how technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can, by generating and modifying the human sensorium, act on consumer (...) consciousness. We discuss the potential impact of this altered consciousness for consumer behaviour while, at the same time, considering how it may pave the way for further research. (shrink)
Cognitive biases can lead to misinterpretations of human and non-human biology and behavior. The concept of the Umwelt describes phylogenetic contrasts in the sensory realms of different species and has important implications for evolutionary studies of cognition (including biases) and social behavior. It has recently been suggested that the microbiome (the diverse network of microorganisms in a given environment, including those within a host organism such as humans) has an influential role in host behavior and health. In this paper, (...) we discuss the host’s microbiome in relation to cognitive biases and the concept of the Umwelt. Failing to consider the role of host–microbiome (collectively termed a “holobiont”) interactions in a given behavior, may underpin a potentially important cognitive bias – which we refer to as the Holobiont Blindspot. We also suggest that microbially mediated behavioral responses could augment our understanding of the Umwelt. For example, the potential role of the microbiome in perception and action could be an important component of the system that gives rise to the Umwelt. We also discuss whether microbial symbionts could be considered in System 1 thinking – that is, decisions driven by perception, intuition and associative memory. Recognizing Holobiont Blindspots and considering the microbiome as a key factor in the Umwelt and System 1 thinking has the potential to advance studies of cognition. Furthermore, investigating Holobiont Blindspots could have important implications for our understanding of social behaviors and mental health. Indeed, the way we think about how we think may need to be revisited. (shrink)
Psychotherapy with the use of psychedelic substances, including psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide, ketamine, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, has demonstrated promise in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, addiction, and treatment-resistant depression. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy represents a unique psychopharmacological model that leverages the profound effects of the psychedelic experience. That experience is characterized by strong dependency on two key factors: participant mindset and the therapeutic environment. As such, therapeutic models that utilize psychedelics reflect the need for careful design that promotes an open, flexible, trusting (...) mindset and a supportive setting. To meet this need, the PP model is increasingly supplemented by auxiliary methods, including meditation, relaxation, visualization or spiritual practices. We suggest virtual reality as a full-spectrum tool able to capitalize on and catalyze the innately therapeutic aspects of the psychedelic experience, such as detachment from familiar reality, alteration of self-experience, augmentation of sensory perception and induction of mystical-type experiences. This is facilitated by VR’s evidenced capacity to: aid relaxation and reduce anxiety; buffer from external stimuli; promote a mindful presence; train the mind to achieve altered states of consciousness ; evoke mystical states; enhance therapeutic alliance and encourage self-efficacy. While these unique VR features appear promising, VR’s potential role in PP remains speculative due to lack of empirical evidence on the combined use of VR and PP. Given the increased commercial interest in this synergy there is an urgent need to evaluate this approach. We suggest specific VR models and their role within PP protocols to inspire future direction in scientific research, and provide a list of potential disadvantages, side effects and limitations that need to be carefully considered. These include sensory overstimulation, cyber-sickness, triggering memories of past traumatic events as well as distracting from the inner experience or strongly influencing its contents. A balanced, evidence-based approach may provide continuity across all phases of treatment, support transition into and out of an ASC, deepen acute ASC experiences including mystical states and enrich the psychotherapeutic process of integration. We conclude that the potential application of VR in modulating psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy demands further exploration and an evidence-based approach to both design and implementation. (shrink)
Special purpose service robots have already entered the market and their users’ homes. Also the idea of the general purpose service robot or personal robot companion is increasingly discussed and investigated. To probe human–robot interaction with a mobile robot in arbitrary domestic settings, we conducted a study in eight different homes. Based on previous results from laboratory studies we identified particular interaction situations which should be studied thoroughly in real home settings. Based upon the collected sensory data from the (...) robot we found that the different environments influenced the spatial management observable during our subjects’ interaction with the robot. We also validated empirically that the concept of spatial prompting can aid spatial management and communication, and assume this concept to be helpful for Human–Robot Interaction design. In this article we report on our exploratory field study and our findings regarding, in particular, the spatial management observed during show episodes and movement through narrow passages. Keywords: COGNIRON, Domestic Service Robotics, Robot Field Trial, Human Augmented Mapping, Human–Robot Interaction, Spatial Management, Spatial Prompting. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the characteristics of immersive media technology and the advantages, problems and solutions in applying this technology to improve the teaching effectiveness of ideological and political theory courses in colleges and universities. Firstly, it introduces the current development and characteristics of immersive media technology. Secondly, it analyzed the outstanding advantages of immersive media technology in teaching from the following perspectives: virtual reality and augmented reality; sensory stimulation and emotional experience; and human-computer interaction and self-harmony. Thirdly, it (...) puts forward the ways to improve the teaching effectiveness based on immersive media technology from the aspects of theoretical study, history study, and practical study of ideological and political theory courses in colleges and universities. Finally, it discusses the problems in applying immersive media technology to teaching the above courses and puts forward some solutions. (shrink)
[Interactive and Immersive Practices; Critical Spatial Practices. The Augmented Reality of the Exhibition Space] The rise of installations, as well as immersive and interactive spaces, in both art and science museums has accustomed the public to heightened interactivity, leading to a better understanding of social, natural and scientific phenomena. These spatial systems have also paved the way for the production of innovative environments within exhibition design. This article aims to present a brief overview of the origins of immersive and (...) class='Hi'>sensory practices at work in contemporary museums, and to evaluate the potential of these processes to generate critical thinking in the visitor. A concise description of the evolution of the operational and intellectual premise of these museums and their changing practices demonstrates the transformations that have occurred, their modalities, and their application in selected works, notably: The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson presented at Tate Modern London; Diller + Scofidio’s media pavilion, Blur Building, in Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland; and the exhibition Sense of the City at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. (shrink)
Much of the literature directed at the Extended Mind Thesis has revolved around parity issues, focussing on the problem of how to individuate the functional roles and on the relevance of these roles for the production of human intelligent behaviour. Proponents of EMT have famously claimed that we shouldn’t take the location of a process as a reliable indicator of the mechanisms that support our cognitive behaviour. This functionalist understanding of cognition has however been challenged by opponents of EMT [such (...) as Rupert ; Adams & Aizawa ], who have claimed that differences between internal, biological processes and putatively extended ones not only exist but are actually crucial to undermine the idea that inner and outer are functionally equivalent. This debate about how to individuate the functional roles has led to a treacherous stand-off, in which proponents of EMT have been trapped under the persistent accusation of causal/constitution conflation. My strategy for responding to this charge is to look precisely at those functional differences highlighted by critics of EMT. I reckon that extended cognitive systems are endowed with quite different properties from systems that are “brain bound” and argue that it is precisely these differences that allow human minds to transcend their biological limitations. I thus defend a complementarity version of the extended mind, according to which externally located resources and internal biological elements make a different but complementary contribution to bringing about intelligent behaviour [Sutton ]. My defence of complementarity is based on both the phylogeny and the ontogeny of cognitive systems. I initially explore the interrelation between brain and cognitive development from a neuroconstructivist perspective [Quartz & Sejnowski ; Mareshal et al. ] and then argue that our brains do not have fixed functional architectures but are sculpted and given form by the activities we repeatedly engage in. As a result of repeated engagements in socio-cultural tasks, relevant brain pathways undergo substantial rewiring. Development thus scaffolds our brains, which become geared into working in symbiotic partnership with external resources. [Kiverstein & Farina ]. On these grounds, I call into question any tendency to interpret the human biological nature as fixed and endogenously pre-determined and side with proponents of DST [Oyama ; Griffiths & Gray ] and ontogenetic niche construction [Stotz ] in arguing that we should think of natural selection as operating on whole developmental systems composed of living organisms in culturally enriched niches. [Wheeler & Clark]. Complementarity defences of EMT argue that many of the kinds of cognition humans excel at can only be accomplished by brains working together with a body that directly manipulates and acts on the world [Rowlands ; Menary ]. I take Sensory Substitution Devices as my empirical case study. SSDs exploit the remarkable plasticity of our brains and with training supply a novel perceptual modality that compensates for loss or impaired sensory channel. I argue that the coupling with these devices triggers a new mode of phenomenal access to the world, something I propose to label as a kind of “artificial synaesthesia [Ward & Meijer ].This new mode of access to the world transforms our cognitive skills and gives rise to augmented processes of deep bio-technological symbiosis. SSDs therefore become mind enhancing tools [Clark ] and a perfect case study for Complementarity. Having shown the relevance of SSDs for EMT, I then take up the possibility that these devices don’t just relocate the boundaries of cognition but may also stretch the bounds of perceptual awareness. I explore the possibility that perceivers using SSDs count as extended cognitive systems and therefore argue that the experiences they enjoy should be counted as extended conscious experiences.[Kiverstein & Farina, ]. SSDs are quite often said to involve some form of incorporation.[Clark ]. Rupert has challenged this idea and its relevance for EMT on the grounds of his embedded approach. Particularly, he has explained tool-use in terms of the causal interaction between the subject and its detached tool. In the final chapter of my dissertation I critically look at his objections and argue that all his arguments fail to apply to SSDs. In SSD perception in fact the tool becomes geared to work in symbiotic partnership with the active subject and then get factored into its’ body schema so that both of them come to form a single system of cognitive analysis. (shrink)
Learning the structure of event sequences is a ubiquitous problem in cognition and particularly in language. One possible solution is to learn a probabilistic generative model of sequences that allows making predictions about upcoming events. Though appealing from a neurobiological standpoint, this approach is typically not pursued in connectionist modeling. Here, we investigated a sequential version of the restricted Boltzmann machine, a stochastic recurrent neural network that extracts high-order structure from sensory data through unsupervised generative learning and can encode (...) contextual information in the form of internal, distributed representations. We assessed whether this type of network can extract the orthographic structure of English monosyllables by learning a generative model of the letter sequences forming a word training corpus. We show that the network learned an accurate probabilistic model of English graphotactics, which can be used to make predictions about the letter following a given context as well as to autonomously generate high-quality pseudowords. The model was compared to an extended version of simple recurrent networks, augmented with a stochastic process that allows autonomous generation of sequences, and to non-connectionist probabilistic models. We conclude that sequential RBMs and stochastic simple recurrent networks are promising candidates for modeling cognition in the temporal domain. (shrink)
Augmented reality (AR) technologies function to ‘augment’ normal perception by superimposing virtual objects onto an agent’s visual field. The philosophy of augmented reality is a small but growing subfield within the philosophy of technology. Existing work in this subfield includes research on the phenomenology of augmented experiences, the metaphysics of virtual objects, and different ethical issues associated with AR systems, including (but not limited to) issues of privacy, property rights, ownership, trust, and informed consent. This paper addresses some epistemological issues (...) posed by AR systems. I focus on a near-future version of AR technology called the Real-World Web, which promises to radically transform the nature of our relationship to digital information by mixing the virtual with the physical. I argue that the Real-World Web (RWW) threatens to exacerbate three existing epistemic problems in the digital age: the problem of digital distraction, the problem of digital deception, and the problem of digital divergence. The RWW is poised to present new versions of these problems in the form of what I call the augmented attention economy, augmented skepticism, and the problem of other augmented minds. The paper draws on a range of empirical research on AR and offers a phenomenological analysis of virtual objects as perceptual affordances to help ground and guide the speculative nature of the discussion. It also considers a few policy-based and designed-based proposals to mitigate the epistemic threats posed by AR technology. (shrink)
Do sensory measurements deserve the label of “measurement”? We argue that they do. They fit with an epistemological view of measurement held in current philosophy of science, and they face the same kinds of epistemological challenges as physical measurements do: the problem of coordination and the problem of standardization. These problems are addressed through the process of “epistemic iteration,” for all measurements. We also argue for distinguishing the problem of standardization from the problem of coordination. To exemplify our claims, (...) we draw on olfactory performance tests, especially studies linking olfactory decline to neurodegenerative disorders. (shrink)
Drawing on work in psychophysics, psychometrics, and sensory neurophysiology, Clark analyzes the character and defends the integrity of psychophysical explanations of qualitative facts, arguing that the structure of such explanations is sound and potentially successful.
Teleological accounts of sensory normativity treat normal functioning for a species as a standard: sensory error involves departure from normal functioning for the species, i.e. sensory malfunction. Straightforward reflection on sensory trade-offs reveals that normal functioning for a species can exhibit failures of accuracy. Acknowledging these failures of accuracy is central to understanding the adaptations of a species. To make room for these errors we have to go beyond the teleological framework and invoke the notion of (...) an ideal observer from vision science. The notion of an ideal observer also sheds light on the important distinction between sensory malfunction and sensory limitation. (shrink)
Some sensory experiences are pleasant, some unpleasant. This is a truism. But understanding what makes these experiences pleasant and unpleasant is not an easy job. Various difficulties and puzzles arise as soon as we start theorizing. There are various philosophical theories on offer that seem to give different accounts for the positive or negative affective valences of sensory experiences. In this paper, we will look at the current state of art in the philosophy of mind, present the main (...) contenders, critically compare and contrast them. In particular, we want to examine how they handle the reason-giving power of affective states. We will look into two representationalist proposals (Evaluativism and Imperativism) and a functionalist proposal, and argue that, contrary to their own advertisements, the representationalist proposals don’t have good accounts of why and how sensory affect can motivate, rationalize, and justify subsequent behavior and intentional mental activity. We will show that our own functionalist proposal does a much better job in this regard, and that when the representationalist proposals are modified to do a better job, they fare better not because of their representationalist credentials but due to their functionalist ones. (shrink)
Many philosophers doubt that one can provide any successful explanation of sensory qualities - of how things look, feel, or seem to a perceiving subject. To provide such an explanation, one would need to explain qualitative facts in non-qualitative terms. Attempts to construct such explanations have seemed, in principle, doomed. Austen Clark examines the strategy used in psychophysics, psychometrics, and sensory neurophysiology to explain qualitative facts. He argues that this strategy could succeed: its structure is sound, and it (...) can answer the various philosophical objections lodged against it. On this basis Professor Clark presents an analysis of senosry qualities that offers the possibility of explaining at least some qualia, and he sketches how this scheme might eventually reduce to neurophysiology. If he is correct, we are not doomed to an eternity of mere acquaintance with our qualia. (shrink)
In this paper we continue to explore the ethics and social impact of augmented visual field devices. Recently, Microsoft announced the pending release of HoloLens, and Magic Leap filed a patent application for technology that will project light directly onto the wearer's retina. Here we explore the notion of deception in relation to the impact these devices have on developers, users, and non-users as they interact via these devices. These sorts of interactions raise questions regarding autonomy and suggest a strong (...) need for informed consent protocols. We identify issues of ownership that arise due to the blending of physical and virtual space and important ways that these devices impact trust. Finally, we explore how these devices impact individual identity and thus raise the question of ownership of the space between an object and someone's eyes. We conclude that developers ought to take time to design and implement a natural and easy to use informed consent system with these devices. (shrink)
Many philosophers use findings about sensory substitution devices in the grand debate about how we should individuate the senses. The big question is this: Is “vision” assisted by (tactile) sensory substitution really vision? Or is it tactile perception? Or some sui generis novel form of perception? My claim is that sensory substitution assisted “vision” is neither vision nor tactile perception, because it is not perception at all. It is mental imagery: visual mental imagery triggered by tactile (...) class='Hi'>sensory stimulation. But it is a special form of mental imagery that is triggered by corresponding sensory stimulation in a different sense modality, which I call “multimodal mental imagery.”. (shrink)