Keynote speakers

    BHI 2013 Keynote Speaker:

    Shinsuke Shimojo
    California Institute of Technology, USA

Sensory substitution, multisensory plasticity, and the third kind of "qualia"

“Qualia” to some refers to the absolute, unique quality of a conscious sensory experience, which may not be “explained away” by neurophysiology. Whereas we do not endorse to the qualia as a “hard” (i.e. impossible in principle) problem for science, we still agree that the current sensory sciences fail to critically characterize such unique quality of sensory experiences.

We aim to find insights in the latest progresses of sensory substitution. The “vOICe” is one of such devices translating visual into auditory inputs for blind people. There are some superusers who claim “visual” experiences. Moreover, some of them showed neural activity in the visual cortical areas in fMRI, when engaged in a variety of tasks relying on this type of device.

Our strategy is to come up with a brief list of psychophysical and neuroscientific criteria for “vision-like” processing, and to search for empirical evidence, including (1) cortical mapping of space via the device, (2) accomplishment of perceptual constancy, and (3) intrinsic (synesthesia-like) crossmodal mapping. Another approach we take is to fully utilize intrinsic crossmodal mappings (correspondences) to make the training and perception via the device automatic and effortless.

The results suggest that qualia, if still want to use such a word, should be understood with regard to adaptive behavior and automatic processing. Moreover, what such training/experience accomplishes should be characterized best as the third kind of qualia. Enrichment of sensory experiences due to intrinsic and associative mapping provides scientists, engineers and artists with ample opportunities.

Speaker Biography:
Shinsuke Shimojo is an experimental psychologist/cognitive neuroscientist, with long-standing interests in visual psychophysics and their applications to visual illusions, cross-modal plasticity, human emotion, preferences, and decision making. He received his BA and MA degrees from the University of Tokyo (’78, ’80), and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (’85). He is currently Gertrude Baltimore Professor in Experimental Psychology in Division of Biology/Computation and Neural Systems at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). His laboratory at Caltech has been applying quantitative psychophysical techniques to understand human implicit perception and social behaviors, with applications of eye tracking, fMRI, EEG, TMS and tDCS, and other techniques. He has approximately 150 publications, including multiple papers in high-impact journals, such as Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, and Neuron. He has received multiple awards including the Tokizane memorial award from the Japanese Society of Neuroscience. He is also known for his installations at science museums (both in the US and Japan), his collaborations with artists, and essays in a newspaper science column (ASAHI WEBRONZA).

Special AMT-BHI 2013 Joint Keynote:

Professor Yuichiro Anzai
President, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan
Title: Human-Robot Interaction: Our Experience Since 1991

BHI 2013 Keynote Speakers:

Shinsuke Shimojo
California Institute of Technology, USA

Marcel A. Just
Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Jiming Liu
Hong Kong Baptist University, HK SAR

AMT 2013 Keynote Speakers:

Yuzuru Tanaka
Hokkaido University, Japan

Carl K. Chang
Iowa State University, USA

Andrzej Skowron
Warsaw University, Poland