Axel Cleeremans

Axel Cleeremans
Université Libre de Bruxelles | ULB · Centre for research in Cognition and Neurosciences (CRCN)

Ph.D. in Psychology

About

294
Publications
75,177
Reads
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12,199
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2012 - present
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Position
  • Managing Director
October 1991 - present
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS)
Position
  • Research Director
October 1986 - present
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS)
Position
  • Research Director
Education
September 1987 - September 1991
Carnegie Mellon University
Field of study
  • Psychology
October 1980 - June 1986
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (294)
Poster
Full-text available
The human visual system is capable of detecting extremely small light signals, as little as one single photon. But what is the visual system’s minimal exposure threshold to detect meaningful stimuli? Due to hardware limitations, studies examining fast visual processing typically present stimuli for suprathreshold durations and disrupt processing wi...
Poster
Full-text available
The human visual system is capable of detecting extremely small light signals, as little as one single photon. But what is the visual system’s minimal exposure threshold to detect meaningful stimuli? Due to hardware limitations, studies examining fast visual processing typically present stimuli for suprathreshold durations and disrupt processing wi...
Article
Full-text available
‘Why would we do anything at all if the doing was not doing something to us?’ In other words: What is consciousness good for? Here, reversing classical views, according to many of which subjective experience is a mere epiphenomenon that affords no functional advantage, we propose that subject-level experience—‘What it feels like’—is endowed with in...
Article
Full-text available
Theories of Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) as optimizing reward value have been widely deployed to explain its activity in a diverse range of contexts, with substantial empirical support in neuroeconomics and decision neuroscience. Similar neural circuits, however, have also been associated with information processing. By using computational modeling, mod...
Article
Full-text available
One way to understand a system is to explore how its behaviour degrades when it is overloaded. This approach can be applied to understanding conscious perception by presenting stimuli in rapid succession in the ‘same’ perceptual event/moment. In previous work, we have identified a striking dissociation during the perceptual moment, between what is...
Article
The Aha! moment-the sudden insight sometimes reached when solving a vexing problem-entails a different problem-solving experience than solution retrieval reached by an analytical, multistep strategy (i.e., non-insight). To date, the (un)conscious nature of insight remains debated. We addressed this by studying insight under cognitive load. If insig...
Article
Developing theories by designing experiments that are aimed at falsifying them is a core endeavour in empirical sciences. By analysing 365 articles dedicated to the study of consciousness, Yaron et al.’s study1 shows that there is almost no dialogue between the four main theories of this elusive phenomenon and gives us an interactive database with...
Article
Full-text available
Swarm intelligence studies self-organized collective behavior resulting from interactions between individuals, typically in animals and artificial agents. Some studies from cognitive science have also demonstrated self-organization mechanisms in humans, often in pairs. Further research into the topic of human swarm intelligence could provide a bett...
Article
Full-text available
Milgram's classical studies famously suggested a widespread willingness to obey authority, even to the point of inflicting harm. Important situational factors supporting obedience, such as proximity with the victim, have been established. Relatively little work has focused on how coercion affects individual cognition, or on identifying the cognitiv...
Preprint
Full-text available
The human visual system is capable of detecting extremely small light signals, as little as one single photon. But what is the visual system's minimal exposure threshold to detect meaningful stimuli? Due to hardware limitations, studies examining fast visual processing typically present stimuli for suprathreshold durations and disrupt processing wi...
Poster
Full-text available
The human visual system is capable of detecting extremely small light signals, as little as one single photon. But what is the visual system’s minimal exposure threshold to detect meaningful stimuli? Due to hardware limitations, studies examining fast visual processing typically present stimuli for suprathreshold durations and disrupt processing wi...
Article
Full-text available
Inspired by recent technological advances in the gaming industry, we used capture cards to create and LIVE-stream high quality 3D-images. With this novel technique, we developed a real-life stereoscopic 3D full-body illusion paradigm (3D projection). Unlike previous versions of the full-body illusion that rely upon unwieldy head-mounted displays, t...
Article
Full-text available
Inspired by recent technological advances in the gaming industry, we used capture cards to create and LIVE-stream high quality 3D-images. With this novel technique, we developed a real-life stereoscopic 3D full-body illusion paradigm (3D projection). Unlike previous versions of the full-body illusion that rely upon unwieldy head-mounted displays, t...
Article
Full-text available
We show how anomalous time reversal of stimuli and their associated responses can exist in very small connectionist models. These networks are built from dynamical toy model neurons which adhere to a minimal set of biologically plausible properties. The appearance of a “ghost” response, temporally and spatially located in between responses caused b...
Preprint
Full-text available
This study explores the subjective evaluation of supplementary motor area (SMA) regulation performance in a real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback (fMRI-NF) task. In fMRI-NF, people learn how to self-regulate their brain activity by performing mental actions to achieve a certain target level of blood-oxygen-level-dependent (B...
Article
Full-text available
As massive amounts of information are becoming available to people, understanding the mechanisms underlying information-seeking is more pertinent today than ever. In this study, we investigate the underlying motivations to seek out information in healthy and addicted individuals. We developed a novel decision-making task and a novel computational m...
Presentation
Full-text available
Abstract: Faces are believed to be processed quickly, efficiently, and perhaps unconsciously. Previous studies have suggested a processing advantage for upright over inverted faces, and for emotional over neutral faces. If so, would orientation and emotion affect the minimal exposure duration required for a face to be discriminated? Due to hardware...
Preprint
The Aha! moment‒ the sudden insight sometimes reached when solving a vexing problem‒ entails a different problem-solving experience than solution retrieval reached by an analytical, multistep strategy (i.e., non-insight). To date, the (un)conscious nature of insight remains debated. We addressed this by studying insight under cognitive load. If ins...
Article
In everyday life, we mainly solve problems with a conscious solution search (non-insight). However, sometimes a perplexing problem is resolved by a quantum leap in understanding. This phenomenon is known as the Aha! experience (insight). Although insight has a distinct phenomenological and behavioral signature, its driving mechanism remains debated...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Full-text available
Despite mirror self-recognition being regarded as a classical indication of self-awareness, little is known about its neural underpinnings. An increasing body of evidence pointing to a role of multimodal somatosensory neurons in self-recognition guided our investigation toward the secondary somatosensory cortex (SII), as we observed single-neuron a...
Article
Full-text available
Brain-machine interfaces (BMI) allows individuals to control an external device by controlling their own brain activity, without requiring bodily or muscle movements. Performing voluntary movements is associated with the experience of agency (“sense of agency”) over those movements and their outcomes. When people voluntarily control a BMI, they sho...
Preprint
Full-text available
Theories of Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) as optimizing reward value have been widely deployed to explain its activity in a diverse range of contexts, with substantial empirical support in neuroeconomics and decision neuroscience. Theoretical frameworks of brain function, however, suggest the existence of a second, independent value system for optimizing...
Article
Full-text available
Recent theories suggest that self-consciousness, in its most elementary form, is functionally disconnected from the phenomenal body. Patients with psychosis frequently misattribute their thoughts and actions to external sources; and in certain out-of-body experiences, lucid states, and dreams body-ownership is absent but self-identification is pres...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The research topic of human–human swam intelligence includes many mechanisms that need to be studied in controlled experiment conditions with multiple human subjects. Virtual environments are a useful tool to isolate specific human interactions for study, but current platforms support only a small scope of possible research areas. In this paper, we...
Preprint
Unconscious or, implicit learning (IL) is often described as being instrumental to human social functioning. However, most of the available IL tasks have limited external validity; they use surface stimuli that are not socially relevant. Additionally, the way in which participants exchange information within most of the available tasks departs from...
Article
Full-text available
Neurofeedback allows humans to self-regulate neural activity in specific brain regions and is considered a promising tool for psychiatric interventions. Recently, methods have been developed to use neurofeedback implicitly, prompting a theoretical debate on the role of awareness in neurofeedback learning. We offer a critical review of the role of a...
Article
Full-text available
Armed forces often rely on strict hierarchical organization, where people are required to follow orders. In two cross-sectional studies, we investigate whether or not working in a military context influences the sense of agency and outcome processing, and how different durations (junior cadets vs senior cadets) and types (cadets vs privates) of mil...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent theories suggest that self-consciousness, in its most elementary form, is separate from the own body. Patients with psychosis frequently misattribute their thoughts and actions to external sources; and in certain out-of-body experiences, lucid states, and dreams body-ownership is absent but self-identification is preserved. We hypothesized t...
Article
Full-text available
Can people categorize complex visual scenes unconsciously? The possibility of unconscious perception remains controversial. Here, we addressed this question using psychophysical methods applied to unmasked visual stimuli presented for extremely short durations (in the μsec range) by means of a custom-built modern tachistoscope. Our experiment was c...
Article
Full-text available
Two themes have puzzled the research on developmental and learning disorders for decades. First, some of the risk and protective factors behind developmental challenges are suggested to be shared and some are suggested to be specific for a given condition. Second, language-based learning difficulties like dyslexia are suggested to result from or co...
Preprint
This study is part of a larger attempt to explore how the brain produces conscious experience. Our main objective here was to take advantage of a neural signature conveyed by the steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) technique (1) to explore the extent to which complex visual images can be processed in the absence of consciousness and (2) t...
Preprint
We show how anomalous time reversal of stimuli and their associated responses can exist in very small connectionist models. The networks these models exist of, are built using a dynamical toy model neuron, and adhere to a minimal set of biologically plausible properties. The appearance of a “ghost” response, temporally and spatially located in betw...
Preprint
Full-text available
We show how anomalous time reversal of stimuli and their associated responses can exist in very small connectionist models. The networks these models exist of, are built using a dynamical toy model neuron, and adhere to a minimal set of biologically plausible properties. The appearance of a "ghost" response, temporally and spatially located in betw...
Article
Full-text available
Detecting predators is essential for survival. Given that snakes are the first of primates’ major predators, natural selection may have fostered efficient snake detection mechanisms to allow for optimal defensive behavior. Here, we provide electrophysiological evidence for a brain-anchored evolved predisposition to rapidly detect snakes in humans,...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to infer how confident other people are in their decisions is crucial for regulating social interactions. In many cooperative situations, verbal communication enables one to communicate one's confidence and to appraise that of others. However, in many circumstances, people either cannot explicitly communicate their confidence level (e.g...
Article
Full-text available
The functional meaning and neural basis of the P3b component of ERPs are still under debate. One of the main issues is whether P3b reflects only stimulus-related processes (stimulus evaluation hypothesis) or response-related processes as well (stimulus-response or S-R link activation hypothesis). Here, we conducted an EEG experiment examining wheth...
Article
Full-text available
Metacognitive abilities allow us to adjust ongoing behavior and modify future decisions in the absence of external feedback. Although metacognition is critical in many daily life settings, it remains unclear what information is actually being monitored and what kind of information is being used for metacognitive decisions. In the present study, we...
Preprint
Neurofeedback allows humans to self-regulate neural activity in specific brain regions and is considered a promising tool for psychiatric interventions. Recently, methods have been developed to use neurofeedback implicitly, prompting a theoretical debate on the role of awareness in neurofeedback learning. We offer a critical review of the role of a...
Preprint
Full-text available
As massive amounts of information are becoming available to people understanding the mechanisms underlying information-seeking is more pertinent today than ever. In this study, we investigate the underlying motivations to seek out information in healthy and addicted individuals. We developed a novel decision-making task and a novel computational mo...
Article
While sensorimotor signals are known to modulate perception, little is known about their influence on higher-level cognitive processes. Here, we applied sensorimotor conflicts while participants performed a perceptual task followed by confidence judgments. Results showed that sensorimotor conflicts altered metacognitive monitoring by decreasing met...
Article
Consciousness remains a formidable challenge. Different theories of consciousness have proposed vastly different mechanisms to account for phenomenal experience. Here, appealing to aspects of global workspace theory, higher-order theories, social theories, and predictive processing, we introduce a novel framework: the self-organizing metarerpresent...
Poster
Full-text available
Faces and their emotional expressions are widely believed to be processed quickly, efficiently, and perhaps even unconsciously. What is the minimal exposure duration required for a face image to be visually discriminated? Is there a processing advantage for upright over inverted faces and for emotional over non-emotional faces? Due to hardware limi...
Article
Full-text available
When we feel sad or depressed, our face invariably “drops”. Conversely, when we try to cheer someone up, we might tell them “keep your smile up”, so presupposing that modifying the configuration of their facial muscles will enhance their mood. A crucial assumption that underpins this hypothesis is that mental states are shaped by information origin...
Article
We aimed to distinguish electrophysiological signatures of visual awareness from other task-related processes through manipulating the level of processing of visual stimuli. During an event-related EEG experiment, 36 subjects performed either color (low-level condition) or magnitude (high-level condition) evaluations of masked digits. Participants...
Article
Full-text available
When engaged in a search task, one needs to arbitrate between exploring and exploiting the environment to optimize the outcome. Many intrinsic, task and environmental factors are known to influence the exploration/exploitation balance. Here, in a non clinical population, we show that the level of inattention (assessed as a trait) is one such factor...
Presentation
Full-text available
Faces are widely believed to be processed quickly, efficiently, and perhaps even unconsciously, due to their importance in human life. What is the minimal exposure duration required for a face image to reach awareness? Is there a processing advantage (reflected in awareness at briefer presentation times) for upright over inverted faces and for emot...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated differences in intentional binding in high and low hypnotizable groups to explore two questions relating to (a) trait differences in the availability of motor intentions to metacognitive processes and (b) a proposed cue combination model of binding. An experience of involuntariness is central to hypnotic responding and may arise fro...
Preprint
Full-text available
Monitoring and control of our decision process are key ingredients of adept decision-making. Such metacognitive abilities allow us to adjust ongoing behavior and modify future decisions in the absence of external feedback. Although metacognition is critical in many daily life settings, it remains unclear what information is actually being monitored...
Poster
Full-text available
What is the minimal time it takes to perceive a face? Do upright faces enjoy a processing advantage over inverted faces? And are emotional faces perceived faster than non-emotional faces? Due to hardware limitations, studies examining fast visual processing typically present stimuli for suprathreshold durations of 10-20 milliseconds, and disrupt pr...
Presentation
Full-text available
In our daily lives most of the activities that we perform tap into our ability to creatively solve problems. Although this is generally a conscious endeavor, sometimes we are struck by a sudden epiphany. The felt component of such an experience is popularly known as the Aha! experience or insight. Although there is general consensus on the phenomen...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ability to infer how confident other people are in their decisions is crucial for regulating social interactions. It is unclear whether one can read others' confidence in absence of verbal communication and whether one can infer it as accurately as for one's own confidence. To address these questions, we used an auditory task in which participa...
Article
Full-text available
Scientific research on consciousness is critical to multiple scientific, clinical, and ethical issues. The growth of the field could also be beneficial to several areas including neurology and mental health research. To achieve this goal, we need to set funding priorities carefully and address problems such as job creation and potential media misre...
Article
Full-text available
It is well known that the human brain continuously predicts the sensory consequences of its own body movements, which typically results in sensory attenuation. Yet, the extent and exact mechanisms underlying sensory attenuation are still debated. To explore this issue, we asked participants to decide which of two visual stimuli was of higher contra...
Article
Full-text available
In their daily decisions, humans and animals are often confronted with the conflicting choice of opting either for a rewarding familiar option (i.e., exploitation) or for a novel, uncertain option that may, however, yield a better reward in the near future (i.e., exploration). Despite extensive research, the cognitive mechanisms that subtend the ma...
Preprint
Full-text available
Bodily self-consciousness is defined as a set of prereflective representations of integrated bodily signals giving rise to self-identification, self-location and first-person perspective. While bodily self-consciousness is known to modulate perception, little is known about its influence on higher-level cognitive processes. Here, we manipulated bod...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is well known that the human brain continuously predicts the sensory consequences of its own body movements, which typically results in sensory attenuation. Yet, the extent and exact mechanisms underlying sensory attenuation are still debated. To explore this issue, we asked participants to decide which of two visual stimuli was of higher contra...