[visionlist] Atsushi IRIKI speaking on March 31 in Developing Minds global online lecture series

Jochen Triesch triesch at fias.uni-frankfurt.de
Mon Mar 28 09:48:05 -05 2022

Dear colleagues,

On March 31, the Developing Minds global online lecture series will feature Atsushi IRIKI, RIKEN Japan:
"Self-in-the-world map evolved in the primate brain as a basis of civilized Homo sapiens“

The live event will take place via zoom at:
22:00 JST (Japan Standard Time)
15:00 CET (Central European Time)
13:00 UTC (Universal Coordinated Time)
9:00 EST (Eastern Standard Time)

To participate please register here:

After a specific point in history, hominin evolution accelerated to a level that could not be accounted for by natural selection alone, but an alternative mechanism has been proposed based on mutual interaction among neural, cognitive, and ecological niches in a positive feedback loop (triadic niche construction; TNC).

Nevertheless, the trigger events for the cognitive revolution of Homo sapiens as well as the reasons for this event being limited to a single species remain unknown. Using a multidisciplinary approach involving psychology, neurobiology, and phenomenology, I will propose a shift in the mechanisms underlying TNC, from TNC- 1 in primates/hominids to TNC-2 in Homo sapiens, to answer these questions. As the primates and hominin brain expanded during TNC-1, latent cognitive capabilities were incubated within its neural framework to be expressed with a simple rewiring among brain areas in TNC-2, a quick and inexpensive process but one that requires a unique set of preconditions to commence. This process was bootstrapped by the advanced function of “projection,” which enabled humans to recognize the “self” in particular time and space in the world, allowing the manipulation of this world (in both physical and symbolic dimensions) again in a positive feedback loop.

Based on these, a new concept of a somatocentric holistic self will be proposed, represented as a more comprehensive body-in-the-world map in the primate brain, taking into account evolutionary aspects that characterize the human cognition and its implication in the emergence of self-consciousness.

Paper: Iriki A, Suzuki H, Tanaka S, Bretas R, Yamazaki Y. (2021). The sapient paradox and the great journey: Insights from cognitive psychology, neurobiology and phenomenology. Psychologia, https://doi.org/10.2117/psysoc.2021-B017.

Atsushi IRIKI received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 1986. He held research associate positions at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University and then at The Rockefeller University (USA). He joined the faculty of Toho University Medical School as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor in Physiology (1991-1999). In 1999, he returned to Tokyo Medical and Dental University as a full professor and chairman of Cognitive Neurobiology. In 2004, Atsushi IRIKI was appointed a head of Laboratory for Symbolic Cognitive Development at RIKEN Institute (first at its Brain Science Institute and then 2018 onward at Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research). He is currently a visiting professor of University College London (UK) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore), an adjunct professor of Keio University, a research professor of Kyoto University, a senior fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (Canada), founding co-director of RIKEN-NTU Research Centres (Singapore & Japan). 

Web: https://www.riken.jp/en/research/labs/bdr/symbol_cogn_dev/index.html  

Best regards,
  Jochen Triesch

Prof. Dr. Jochen Triesch
Johanna Quandt Chair for Theoretical Life Sciences
Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and
Goethe University Frankfurt
Tel: +49 (0)69 798-47531
Fax: +49 (0)69 798-47611

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