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Lisbon: The Role of First Person Experience in Neuroscience


Champalimaud Center for the Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal.

The Role of First Person Experience in Neuroscience - Advanced Course

with Sten Rudstrøm, Satu Palokangas, Rui Costa and Zach Mainen

In this course, we want to explore how experiential and cognitive knowledge might contribute to a better understanding of decision making and actions in humans. We will hear current neuroscience views about decisions, confidence, agency, habits and goal directed actions. In parallel with these distinctions there will be the opportunity to explore some specific scenarios experientially. The experiences are derived from the technique of Action Theater™, supported by somatic awareness work directed toward practicing what is considered one of the crucial aspects of neurophenomenology: to observe experience in the most unfiltered and raw way – eliminating pre conceptions and theories about the experience.  

Action Theater™ is a body-based improvisation training that aims to bring performers fully in the moment. The exercises require participants to perform simple actions with very specific constraints in order to uncover unconscious biases. The practice will be strengthened by supporting exercises from somatic disciplines such as Body Mind Centering©, Laban Movement Analysis and more. These exercises will help participants to focus more clearly on their body sensations.

 Participants are also invited to be subjects in an experiment about presence and the ability to reports transitions between stillness and movement, before and after specific training on body awareness and shifting actions. We will discuss the results of the experiments in the concluding session of the class.