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ESCoP Summer School 2012

ESCoP Summer School 2012 2017-04-21T00:36:37+00:00

ESCoP Summer School
Dynamics of Consciousness

Zakopane – Kiry, Poland
20th – 28th July 2012


The summer school focuses on the phenomenon of consciousness as seen from a dynamic perspective. It aims to discuss the dynamics of consciousness with a group of leading scientists working on different aspects of the issue. From William James onwards, consciousness can not only be conceptualized as a static property but can also be thought of as constantly fluctuating, changing over time in terms of form and content. This variability stems from and reflects one of the most prominent qualities of our inner and outer environment – its inherent instability. Although it might pose difficulties in operationalizing and experimental measurement, the character and parameters of such change can be studied and quantified. Paralleling those in fields of attention and memory, this issue is of crucial importance to cognitive psychology as the course of research and scientific inquiry about the subject can offer both new insights into the way our mind represents reality as well as a more detailed account of the nature of consciousness.

Target group and prospective outcomes

The summer school is targeted mainly to students and young scientist interested in the topic (PhD students, post‐doc researchers), although more experienced academics are also very welcomed. As the event is thought to be small, focused meeting, the maximum number of participants will not exceed 35. The priority would be given to participants who are ESCoP members. Participation should result in in-depth, detailed insight into theoretical aspects of consciousness changeability and current state of the art in the research conducted by leading teams in the field. Participants should also be well-‐prepared to design and conduct autonomous research in the area of consciousness dynamics. Participation should result in in‐depth, detailed insight into theoretical aspects of consciousness changeability and current state of the art in the research conducted by leading teams in the field. Participants should also be well-prepared to design and conduct autonomous research in the area of consciousness dynamics.

Invited speakers









Axel Cleeremans


Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Topic: Dynamics of consciousness

Axel Cleeremans is interested in consciousness and in the role that elementary learning processes play in behavior. It turns out that many such learning processes are implicit, that is, they occur without intention and without resulting in verbalizable knowledge. Thus it appears that many things we learn about, such as language, are learnt without concomitant awareness of the relevant information. The main thrust of his research in this controversial domain consists of formulating computationally explicit theories of the learning mechanisms involved in different tasks and of exploring the theories’ implications empirically. For a number of principled reasons, the connectionist framework appears best suited to capture many aspects of human implicit learning performance, and hence that is the framework that he works with. More recently he have also explored the idea that consciousness is something that one learns rather than a static property of some representations and not others. That is, it is in virtue of the fact that the brain continuously learns about its own internal states that some of these states become available to consciousness. He calls this the “Radical Plasticity Thesis”. To get an overall feel for his perspective on these issues, read Consciousness: The Radical Plasticity Thesis.

Tom Froese


University of Tokyo, Japan
Topic: Subjective experience

Tom Froese holds an M.Eng. in Computer Science and Cybernetics from the University of Reading, UK (2004). He received his D.Phil. in Cognitive Science from the University of Sussex, UK (2010). He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Neurodynamics and Consciousness Laboratory of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, also at the University of Sussex (2010). Currently, Froese is a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ikegami Laboratory in the Department of General Systems Studies of the University of Tokyo, Japan (2010?2012). His research is focused on developing enactive approaches to understanding the biology, phenomenology, and dynamics of life, mind, and sociality.

At the summer school he will focus on practical methods for researching lived experience from the first- and second-person perspective, including meditation, explicitation interviews, and descriptive experience sampling.

Recommended reading

Zoltan Dienes


University of Sussex, Brighton, England
Topic: Conscious and unconscious knowledge

Zoltan Dienes is interested in the distinction between conscious and unconscious mental states, both states of knowing and intending. For example, much of the knowledge we acquire for dealing with the world appears to be unconscious. We can learn to use certain linguistic structures, to appreciate certain styles of music, to obey cultural rules, or to gain perceptual motor mastery of a domain without consciously knowing the underlying regularities. How is such knowledge acquired? By what methods can know whether knowledge is conscious or unconscious? What type of structures can be learnt unconsciously? How can such learning be computationally modelled? He is also interested in hypnosis, a way of acting which he argues is intentional but the person is strategically unaware of those intentions.

Jeroen Van Boxtel


University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Topic: Dynamic relations between atention and consciousness

Jeroen van Boxtel obtained a Masters degree in Biology at the Utrecht University, a Masters degree in Cognitive Sciences at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, and the Collège de France, in Paris, after which he received his PhD at Utrecht University for work on motion perception and binocular rivalry. Jeroen currently works as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, and has a visiting appointment at California Institute of Technology. He studies the interaction between attention and consciousness, and other processes such as memory. He also studies the influences of attention and individual differences on biological motion perception.

Hakwan Lau


Columbia University, New York, USA

Donders Institute, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Topic: Dissociating subjective experience from processing capacity in visual perception

I study why some perceptual and cognitive processes in the brain are conscious while others aren’t. Currently I am an assistant professsor of psychology at Columbia University in New York City. I have previously worked at the Wellcome Center of Neuroimaging in London (2004-2007), and have done my doctorate at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (2001-2005). I was born and raised in Hong Kong, where I studied philosophy and cognitive science as an undergrad (1998-2001).

Rufin VanRullen


Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition, Toulouse, France

Topic: Temporal aspects of consciousness

Bernhard Hommel


Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
Topic: Conciousness of actions

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hommel holds the chair of “General Psychology” at Leiden University since 1999, after having worked as senior researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Psychological Research (PhD at the University of Bielefeld in 1990; Habilitation at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich). He is a co-founder and board member of the Leiden Institute for Brain & Cognition (LIBC). His research focuses on cognitive, computational, developmental, neural, and neurochemical mechanisms of human attention and action control, and the role of consciousness therein. Recent work also addresses the role of emotion, creativity, and religion in human cognition. He has (co-) authored more than 190 articles in international journals and more than 40 chapters in readers and psychological textbooks, (co-) edited three books on action control and the relationship between perception and action, and (co-) edited several special issues on attention and action control.

Local Committee & Guests


Michal Wierzchon on behalf of the local committee & guests


Friday 20.07

15:00 – Dynamics of Consciousness – An Introduction (1)

 SpeakerAxel Cleeremans

17:00 – Dynamics of Consciousness – An Introduction (2)

 SpeakerAxel Cleeremans


Saturday 21.07

09:00 – Conscious Experience – Introductory lecture

 SpeakerTom Froese

11:00 – Conscious Experience – Practical workshop

 SpeakerTom Froese

13:30 – LUNCH 
15:00 – Conscious Experience – Panel discussion

 SpeakerLocal Committee & Guests

19:00 – BARBECUE 

Sunday 22.07

09:00 – Relations Between Attention and Consciousness (1)

 SpeakerJeroen Van Boxtel

11:00 – Relations Between Attention and Consciousness (2)

 SpeakerJeroen Van Boxtel

13:30 – LUNCH 
15:00 – Relations Between Attention and Consciousness (3)

 SpeakerJeroen Van Boxtel

17:00 – Subjective or objective measures-panel discussion

 SpeakerLocal Committee & Guests

19:00 – DINNER 

Monday 23.07

09:00 – Subjective experience (1)

 SpeakerHakwan Lau

11:00 – Subjective experience (2)

 SpeakerHakwan Lau

13:30 – LUNCH 
15:00 – Subjective experience (3)

 SpeakerHakwan Lau


Tuesday 24.07

09:00 – How to tell is knowledge is unconscious (1)

 SpeakerZoltan Dienes

11:00 – How to tell is knowledge is unconscious (2)

 SpeakerZoltan Dienes

13:30 – LUNCH 
15:00 – How to tell is knowledge is unconscious (3)

 SpeakerZoltan Dienes

17:00 – Student project presentations

 SpeakerLocal Committee & Guests

19:00 – DINNER 

Wednesday 25.07

09:00 – Temporal Aspects of Consciousness: An Overview

 SpeakerRufin VanRullen

11:00 – Temporal Aspects of Consciousness (2)

 SpeakerRufin VanRullen

13:30 – LUNCH 
15:00 – Temporal Aspects of Consciousness (3)

 SpeakerRufin VanRullen

19:00 – DINNER 
20:00 – Embodied consciousness – panel discussion

 SpeakerLocal Committee & Guests

Thursday 26.07

09:00 – Conciousness of Actions (1)

 SpeakerBernhard Hommel

11:00 – Conciousness of Actions (2)

 SpeakerBernhard Hommel

13:30 – LUNCH 
15:00 – Consciousness of Actions (3)

 Speaker:  Bernhard Hommel

17:00 – Conciousness of Actions (4)

 SpeakerBernhard Hommel

19:00 – DINNER 

Friday 27.07

09:00 – Excursion

 Speakerto be announced

13:30 – LUNCH 
15:00 – Lecture & closing remarks

 SpeakerLocal Committee & Guests

19:00 – DINNER 


Arrival Details

The summer school will take place in Marymont training and leisure center in Kiry:

located in the picturesque area of Tatra mountains, in vicinity of Zakopane.

Hotel facilities




fitness room

sauna & jacuzzi

bike rental service

monitored parking area

Zakopane area & Tatra mountains



 The Tatra Mountains, Tatras or Tatra (Tatry either in Polish and in Slovak, Tátra in Hungarian), are a mountain range which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland, and are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. Tatras occupy an area of 750 km² (290 mi²), of which the greater part (600 km²/232 mi²) lies in Slovakia, with the highest peak Gerlach at 2,655 m (8710 ft), located north of Poprad. In turn, summit Rysy (2,499 m/8200 ft), located in the north-western part of Tatras, is the highest mountain in Poland.


Situated in the south of Poland at the foot of the Tatra mountains – the most beautiful and the only Alpine-like mountain range in the country – and only two-hour’s drive from Cracow, Zakopane is the highest located town in Poland. It has been enchanting visitors with its unique atmosphere for over 100 years. The town has long been regarded as the winter capital of Poland, but it is also the tourist capital of the country. Zakopane offers its visitors what they will not find anywhere else: splendid nature, rich folklore, orginal culture. Perfect conditions for relaxation and, above all a full range of sports in summer and winter. For more than 100 years now artists, politicians, cultural activists and scientists have been coming here to improve their health, admire breathtaking views and take exercise – and to be fasionable, as it is very fasionable to go to Zakopane. Today they still find Zakopane quiet and relaxing, but without having to give up the comfort of the city, or hospitality and fair service (source: