Mental imagery & aphantasia
Scientists have thought for some time that mental imagery is crucial for performing certain tasks such as mental rotation. In this blog post in The Junkyard of the Mind, Jorge explores some of the challenges that aphantasia—the lack of mental imagery—offer against this hypothesis of the functions of mental imagery and consciousness in general.
Philosophers @ VSS
Philosophers crashed vision science’s greatest party (a.k.a. VSS) for the third iteration of PhiVis. With talks on feature binding, perception of social features and attention, philosophers Jake Quilty-Dunn, Madeleine Ransom and Wayne Wu gave fantastic talks to a packed room. Comments by vision scientists came from Yaoda Wu, Isabel Gauthier and Ruth Rosenholtz. Jorge had a blast chairing the session.
Philosophy in the laboratory!
New paper out in Current Directions in Psychological Science! In “Philosophy of Perception in the Psychologist’s Laboratory”, we discuss an exciting recent trend in perception science: taking philosophical thought experiments seriously and putting them to empirical test. We review several case studies: Molyneux’s question? Check! Hume’s problem of the perception of causality? Check! The famous tilted coin problem? Check! Ryle’s speckled hen? Check!
Congratulations to our RA extraordinaire, Saurish Srivasatava, who has been recognized by the Society for Science—the oldest & most prestigious science competition for high schoolers in the US—as a top 300 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) 2023 scholar! Previous STS winners went to win Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, MacArthur Fellowships and more. We can’t wait to see what other great things Saurish will accomplish…once he starts college!
New dispatch in Current Biology! Mental rotation is thought to require visualization of objects in 3D space. We discuss Stewart et al.’s groundbreaking results showing computations on 2D proximal stimuli—rather than 3D object representations in the mind’s eye—play a crucial role in mental rotation.
The lab at OPAM 2022
The lab’s first conference!
The Subjectivity Lab will attend its first conference this November—OPAM 2022—right here in Boston! Saurish Srivastava, our amazing high school research assistant, will be presenting his project “Scant Evidence for Domain-General Metacognition”. Saurish used his Python wizardry to ask a fundamental question: Are metacognitive mechanisms domain-general? To answer this question, he analyze hundreds of subjects’ data from the Confidence database, and the answer we found was: No, there’s little evidence for metacognitive domain-generality. Congrats Saurish!
Congratulations to our wonderful Research Program Coordinator, Krissy Kilgallen, for winning an Avrom Aaron Leve Award in recognition of her academic performance and of her research during her time as an undergraduate in the Psychology Department at Northeastern. Well done Krissy!
The lab grows!
We are thrilled to announce that this fall 2022 Michael McPhee will join the lab to pursue his PhD, and Dillon Plunkett will join us as a postdoctoral researcher. Michael is the current lab manager at the Ripollés Lab at NYU, and he is interested in consciousness, attention and metacognition. Dillon is finishing his PhD in Josh Green’s Lab at Harvard University, and he’s interested in questions about consciousness and representational format. We couldn’t be happier to welcome Michael and Dillon!
Crossroads of Ideas: Big Questions
Public Lecture & Dialogue
Jorge participated in Crossroads of Ideas, a public lecture series at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As part of their Big Questions Series, Jorge’s public lecture discussed challenges and opportunities for the scientific study of consciousness. The talk was followed by a conversation with neuroscientist Yuri Saalmann moderated by Wisconsin Public Radio producer Steve Paulson.
Metacognition in Glass
London-based artist Cathryn Shilling took the fMRI images from our Journal of Neuroscience metacognition paper and created a splendid art installation.
Vision Science Meets Philosophy
Forbes, Nautilus, Publico and the science podcast The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, among other venues, featured our PNAS paper in which we use vision science to address a centuries-old philosophical problem on the representation of perspectival shapes. Bonus: MC Hammer (yes, really!) tweeted out our paper too!
Philosophy of Perception in the Lab
Jorge contributed to the Brains Blog’s Cognitive Science and Philosophy Symposium with a post titled “Philosophy of Perception in the Laboratory”.
Dialogue on the Science of Subjectivity
Elizabeth Fernandez—host of the science and society podcast Spark Dialogue—talked to Jorge about the philosophy and science of subjectivity and how our brains help us see the world around us.
The Prefrontal Cortex & Consciousness
The Brains Blog and the journal Mind & Language organized a symposium on Jorge’s and his collaborator Matthias Michel’s article “Minority Reports: Consciousness and the Prefrontal Cortex” with commentaries by cognitive scientists and philosophers.