What is a conscious self? What exactly makes an experience a subjective phenomenon?
Starting with the neurology of out-of-body experiences and the breakdown of bodily mechanisms of self-consciousness, this talk presents novel neuroscience data on self-consciousness and subjectivity in healthy subjects using techniques from cognitive neuroscience and engineering-based technologies such as virtual reality and robotics.
It translates these research findings to the bedside and show how control over the brain mechanisms of our daily “inside-body experience” can join forces with neuro-engineering and thus impact treatments for patients with amputation and spinal cord injury.
Olaf Blanke is director of the Center for Neuroprosthetics at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), holds the Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Cognitive Neuroprosthetics, and is consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology (Geneva University Hospital).
He received his MD and PhD in neurophysiology from the Free University of Berlin. Blanke’s research targets the brain mechanisms of body perception, corporeal awareness and selfconsciousness, applying paradigms from cognitive science, neuroscience, neuroimaging, robotics, and virtual reality in healthy subjects and neurological patients.
His two main goals are to understand and control neural own body representations to develop a neurobiological model of self-consciousness and to apply these findings in the emerging field of cognitive and systems neuroprosthetics.
His work has received wide press coverage; he is recipient of numerous awards.