Anna Ciaunica

Anna Ciaunica
Centre for Philosophy of Science University of Lisbon

PhD

About

40
Publications
19,669
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Introduction
My research focuses on the relationship between self-consciousness and social interactions. I am the PI of two interdisciplinary projects examining: (a) the mechanisms underlying atypical self-processing and self-other mirroring in Depersonalisation; (b) the relationship between self-consciousness and social interactions in human and artificial agents. I coordinate the Network for the Embodied Consciousness, and the Arts - NECTArts - bringing together artists, researchers and clinicians.

Publications

Publications (40)
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers the phenomenology of depersonalisation disorder, in relation to predictive processing and its associated pathophysiology. To do this, we first establish a few mechanistic tenets of predictive processing that are necessary to talk about phenomenal transparency, mental action, and self as subject. We briefly review the important...
Preprint
Full-text available
Depersonalization is a common and distressing experience characterized by a feeling of estrangement from one’s self, body and the world. In order to examine the relationship between depersonalization and selfhood we conducted an experimental study comparing processing of three types of self-related information between non-clinical groups of people...
Preprint
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Across times and cultures, humans constantly and intentionally tried to 'lose' or to 'escape' their familiar, ordinary self, to 'self-detach' and to radically change the ways of perceiving oneself and the world. In this paper we explore the contrast between the feeling of 'losing' the sense of familiarity with one's self and body in Depersonalisati...
Article
Full-text available
Depersonalisation is a common dissociative experience characterised by distressing feelings of being detached or 'estranged' from one's self and body and/or the world. The COVID-19 pandemic forcing millions of people to socially distance themselves from others and to change their lifestyle habits. We have conducted an online study of 622 participan...
Preprint
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Assigning to Pearl blankets an instrumental, a ‘pure’ formal role, tacitly delegates the thorny question of mapping the ‘murky’ territory to empirical sciences. But this move side-lines the problem, and does not offer a solution to the question: how do we relate the formal properties of an agent’s model of the world to the real properties of the wo...
Preprint
We conducted an online study featuring two experiments in order to examine the relationship between depersonalization experiences (DP) (i.e. feelings of being detached from one’s self and body) and vicarious affective touch and self-touch. Experiment 1 examined to what extent DP traits modulate the perceived pleasantness and/or vividness of tactile...
Article
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Most theoretical and empirical discussions about the nature of consciousness are typically couched in a way that endorses a tacit adult-centric and vision-based perspective. This paper defends the idea that consciousness science may be put on a fruitful track for its next phase by examining the nature of subjective experiences through a bottom-up d...
Preprint
Full-text available
Depersonalisation is a common dissociative experience characterised by distressing feelings of being detached or ‘estranged’ from one’s self and body and/or the world. The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to socially distance from others and to change life habits. We have conducted an online study on 622 participants worldwide to investi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Depersonalisation is a common dissociative experience characterised by distressing feelings of being detached or 'estranged' from one's self and body and/or the world. The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to socially distance from others and to change life habits. We have conducted an online study on 622 participants worldwide to investi...
Preprint
Multiple studies have shown the importance of movement and physical exercise like dance for human wellbeing and mental health. Yet, factors influencing proprioception and body awareness in the context of exercise remain largely unexplored. This is mostly due to the lack of tools and techniques to record, manipulate and intervene on body awareness d...
Article
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The idea that our perceptions in the here and now are influenced by prior events and experiences has recently received substantial support and attention from the proponents of the Predictive Processing (PP) and Active Inference framework in philosophy and computational neuroscience. In this paper we look at how perceptual experiences get off the gr...
Article
Full-text available
In his paper “Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science,” Andy Clark seminally proposed that the brain's job is to predict whatever information is coming “next” on the basis of prior inputs and experiences. Perception fundamentally subserves survival and self-preservation in biological agents, such as hu...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper proposes a qualitative study exploring anomalous self and world-experiences in individuals with high levels of depersonalization traits. Depersonalization (DP) is a condition characterized by distressing feelings of being a detached, neutral and disembodied onlooker of one’s mental and bodily processes or even of reality itself (‘dereali...
Preprint
Full-text available
In his paper ‘Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science’ Andy Clark (2013) seminally proposed that the brain’s job is to predict whatever information is coming ‘next’ on the basis of prior inputs and experiences. Perception fundamentally subserves survival and self-preservation in biological agents such...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper argues that consciousness science may be put on a fruitful track for its future evolution by endorsing a bottom-up developmental perspective. Specifically, we propose to go back to ‘square one’ and to examine the nature of subjective experiences as they emerge in early human life, in utero. We build upon the observation that current theo...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper considers the phenomenology of depersonalisation disorder, in relation to predictive processing and its associated pathophysiology. To do this, we first establish a few mechanistic tenets of predictive processing that are necessary to talk about phenomenal transparency, mental action, and self as subject. We briefly review the important...
Article
Full-text available
There has recently been a resurgence of philosophical and scientific interest in the foundations of self-consciousness, with particular focus on its altered, anomalous forms. This paper looks at the altered forms of self-awareness in Depersonalization Disorder (DPD), a condition in which people feel detached from their self, their body and the worl...
Preprint
Full-text available
The idea that whatever we perceive now is influenced by whatever we perceived before lies at the core of Predictive Processing (PP) theories in philosophy and computational neuroscience. If this is so, then it becomes crucial to look at how perception, cognition and actions get off the ground from square one, in utero. Here we examine how humans se...
Preprint
In his seminal paper ‘Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science’ Andy Clark (2013) argued that the brain’s job is to predict whatever information is coming ‘next’ on the basis of the prior information perceived before. In this paper we suggest that term ‘next’ should be understood not only at the tempora...
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing consensus that our most fundamental sense of self is structured by the ongoing integration of sensory and motor information related to our own body. Depersonalisation (DP) is an intriguing form of altered subjective experience in which people report feelings of unreality and detachment from their sense of self. The current study...
Preprint
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23 The sense of self lies at the heart of conscious experience, anchoring our disparate 24 perceptions, emotions, thoughts and actions into a unitary whole. There is a growing 25 consensus that sensory information about the body plays a central role in structuring this 26 basic sense of self. Depersonalisation (DP) is an intriguing form of altered...
Preprint
Full-text available
The sense of self lies at the heart of conscious experience, anchoring our disparate perceptions, emotions, thoughts and actions into a unitary whole. There is a growing consensus that sensory information about the body plays a central role in structuring this basic sense of self. Depersonalisation (DP) is an intriguing form of altered subjective e...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years there has been an increasing focus on a crucial aspect of the ‘meeting of minds’ problem (Gallotti and Frith 2013), namely the ability that human beings have for sharing different types of mental states such as emotions, intentions, and perceptual experiences. In this paper I examine what counts as basic forms of ‘shared experiences...
Article
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This article focuses on the question of how do we perceive and represent ourselves at the most minimal, pre-reflective level. We first review recent work emphasizing the multisensory basis of our perceptual experiences and the embodied nature of self-awareness. We then focus on interoceptive and tactile signals, as key components of bodily self-con...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years there has been an increasing focus on a crucial aspect of the ‘meeting of minds’ problem (Gallotti and Frith 2013), namely the ability that human beings have for sharing different types of mental states such as emotions, intentions, and perceptual experiences. In this paper I examine what counts as basic forms of ‘shared experiences...
Article
Full-text available
This article focuses on the question of the function of imitation and whether current accounts of imitative function are consistent with our knowledge about imitation's origins. We first review theories of imitative origin concluding that empirical evidence suggests that imitation arises from domain‐general learning mechanisms. Next, we lay out a s...
Article
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The perennial question of how we understand others' emotions and mental states has undertaken an "interactive turn" emphasizing the crucial role of low-level bodily coupling and second-personal engagements with others as opposed to the individualistic procedure of mental state attribution or "mindreading". This raises the important question of what...
Article
Full-text available
This article focuses on the question of the function of imitation and whether current accounts of imitative function are consistent with our knowledge about imitation's origins. We first review theories of imitative origin concluding that empirical evidence suggests that imitation arises from domain-general learning mechanisms. Next, we lay out a s...
Article
Full-text available
*FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS* Interdisciplinary Special Issue to appear in TOPOI, an International Journal of Philosophy THE RELATIONAL SELF - BASIC FORMS OF SELF-AWARENESS *Editor* Anna CIAUNICA (Institute of Philosophy Porto / Institute of Cognitive Neurosciences, UCL London) The SI will consist of six invited contributors and a matched number of...
Chapter
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Is minimal selfhood a build-in feature of our experiential life (Gallagher 2005; Zahavi 2005, 2014; Legrand 2006) or a later socio-culturally determined acquisition, emerging in the process of social exchanges and mutual interactions (Fonagy et al. 2004; Prinz 2012; Schmid 2014)? This chapter, building mainly on empirical research on affective touc...
Article
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Several studies (Onishi and Baillargeon 2005; Surian et al. 2007) demonstrated that children younger than 3 years of age, who consistently fail the standard verbal false-belief task, can anticipate others’ actions based on their attributed false beliefs. This gave rise to the so-called “Developmental Paradox”. De Bruin and Kästner (2012) recently s...
Article
Full-text available
It has become fashionable to think of limitations in psychological perspective-taking among children with autism as signs of lacks in their "Mindreading" abilities [1,2]. On the dominant view, it has been argued that the human aptitude at inferring mental states is one of the crucial preconditions for the evolution of cooperative social structure i...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
We are conducting research into the bodily self during waking and dreaming states. If you are interested in being a participant for our new online study please read on... Our conscious experience of our bodies is fundamentally linked to our sense of self and identity. This study is interested in your experience of your body and self during waking and dreaming. Participation is online. To see if you are eligible there is a 10 minute pre-screening survey linked below. If you do not pass the pre-screening you will be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher. The full study requires recording dream reports (audio) and filling out questionnaires (15 mins) every morning for two weeks. If you complete the study you will receive a £36 Amazon voucher. Eligibility: (1) 18 or over (2) No neurological disorder or history of seizures (3) Fluent in English LINK TO SURVEY https://lnkd.in/drxYxZqf Research Team Matt Gwyther Jane Aspell Anna Ciaunica Bigna Lenggenhager Jennifer Windt
Project
Depersonalization (DP) is a fascinating and intriguing phenomena which typically manifests as a disruption of bodily self-awareness (Sierra & Berrios 1998). This projects aims at investigating an important aspect of the link between the bodily self and mirroring mechanisms and proceeds in two steps. First we examine the Visual Enhancement of Touch (VET) effect in Depersonalisation individuals, which is a crucial example of how multisensory modulation in the somatosensory system might play a crucial role in representing the sensations of others. Indeed, Depersonalization (DP henceforth) is a fascinating and intriguing phenomena which typically manifests as a profound disruption of bodily self-awareness (Sierra & Berrios 1997) which result in a feeling of being “estranged” not only from the physical and social world, but more crucially, from their own bodily experiences. In a second step we examine the phenomenon of automatic facial mimicry in DP individuals by using facial electromyography (EMG), which monitors electrical changes in muscle activity over the cheek and brow region.