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Fragile Memories for Fleeting Percepts

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  • UserProfessor Howard Bowman, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham School of Computing, University of Kent at Canterbury Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging (Visiting) World_link
  • ClockWednesday 22 April 2020, 13:30-15:00
  • HouseZoom meeting.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Louise White.

The Simultaneous Type/ Serial Token (STST) model of temporal attention and working memory (Bowman & Wyble, 2007) was published over 10 years ago as a theory of the attentional blink and associated phenomena. In the intervening period, the scope of the theory has grown, becoming a theory of the episodic nature of attention and perception (Wyble et al, 2011). Recently, we have also been considering the implications of the STST model for theories of conscious perception. If one interprets the neural network model that implements the STST theory literally, it makes two particular predictions for conscious experience: 1) that we can pre-consciously search our sensory environments for salient stimuli (type-information); and 2) that we cannot pre-consciously search our sensory environment on the basis of episodic information (token-information). The latter of these fits well with theories of conscious perception based upon event individuation (Kanwisher, 2001). Using rapid serial visual presentation, I will report a series of EEG (Bowman et al, 2014) and behavioural (Aviles et al, 2020) experiments that provide evidence in support of these two predictions. These experiments focus on the fragility, even absence, of memory for fleetingly presented stimuli. We argue that these findings provide support for a theory we call the tokenised percept hypothesis. Avil├ęs, A., Bowman, H., & Wyble, B. (2020). On the limits of evidence accumulation of the preconscious percept. Cognition, 195, 104080. Bowman, H., & Wyble, B. (2007). The simultaneous type, serial token model of temporal attention and working memory. Psychological review, 114(1), 38. Bowman, H., Filetti, M., Alsufyani, A., Janssen, D., & Su, L. (2014). Countering countermeasures: detecting identity lies by detecting conscious breakthrough. PloS one, 9(3). Kanwisher, N. (2001). Neural events and perceptual awareness. Cognition, 79(1-2), 89-113. Wyble, B., Potter, M. C., Bowman, H., & Nieuwenstein, M. (2011). Attentional episodes in visual perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(3), 488.

Howard Bowman is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in Psychology at the University of Birmingham and Professor of Cognition and Logic in Computing at the University of Kent. He also holds a visiting position at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL . For the first half of his career, he worked in theoretical computer science; specific contributions were on decision procedures for temporal logics and process calculi in concurrency theory. More recently, he has worked in cognitive neuroscience, with particular focus on theories of temporal attention (e.g. the Simultaneous Type/ Serial Token model) and the role of oscillations in episodic memory formation (e.g. the Synch/deSynch model). He also has interests in methods development for neuroimaging, e.g. problems of small samples, and over-fitting of hyper-parameters in machine learning and region of interest selection. Finally, he is currently commercialising his EEG findings in a forensics context with the company vision metric and funding from Innovate UK.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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