The overall goal of the Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition (NCC) is to accelerate our understanding of how we see (perception), why some experience feels the way it does (consciousness) and how those experiences get imprinted on our brain (learning and memory) – as well as the interplay between these processes.
A deep mystery in science is understanding why living things, such as humans and perhaps other animals are conscious, while machines, despite all their superb abilities and apparent intelligence are not. Why do we experience suffering? Why do we marvel in front of a piece of art, or feel time stopping and have the ‘chills’ when listening to a musical masterpiece? Our group seeks to tackle those challenging questions.
We use multiple methods to get at those questions, ranging from invasive and non-invasive electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and patient studies over behavioral techniques to online surveys and computational modelling.
We are an interdisciplinary group committed to advancing the scientific ecosystem. We are pursuing a new format of team science which combines open science with adversarial collaboration, and aims at accelerating discoveries by capitalizing on intellectual diversity. We pursue large-scale collaborations, aimed at building a brain observatory, to accelerate discoveries by pooling resources and the best minds, thus making science sustainable by preserving knowledge and minimizing unnecessary efforts. For more information, visit our website at arc-cogitate.com.
- Neural mechanisms by which the brain predictively controls perception and cognition
A central yet unanswered question in neuroscience concerns the cortical mechanisms by which the brain predictively controls perception and higher-level cognitive functions, e.g., language. My studies investigate how predictions about upcoming ...
- The structure of subjective experience
Consciousness is one of the most fascinating yet least understood aspects of human nature, or perhaps nature at large. Our lives dwell in our conscious experiences: this is where we experience love, we feel the ‘chills’ with a good piece of ...
- Testing theories of consciousness
Every day we lose and regain consciousness as we fall asleep and wake up. Yet, we still do not know how consciousness come about in the brain. Our long-term goal is to shed light onto this fundamental question: how does a physical system, such as ...
- Methods development
Advancements in science necessitate theories, to make sense of observations and to predict new observations, but also sensitive methods to enable observations at the right scale. As we need a telescope to look at the galaxy far away, we need ...
- Mental units of temporal experience
Our mind breaks the continuous stream of experience into events, or chunks. Events are meaningful episodes that unfold over time, such as throwing a ball. We can understand, for instance, who is throwing a ball to whom and at what speed. Events ...
- The interplay between perception and memory
From the thousands of experiences we have each day, only a few will be remembered. How and why is this so? We are interested in the question of how the continuous living present is broken up into pieces that will be remembered, and the distortion ...
Benjamin, L., Fló, A., Palu, M., Naik, S., Melloni, L., & Dehaene-Lambertz, G. (2022).
Tracking transitional probabilities and segmenting auditory sequences are dissociable processes in adults and neonates (early
view). Developmental Science, e13300. doi:10.1111/desc.13300.
Cappotto, D., Kang, H., Li, K., Melloni, L., Schnupp, J., & Auksztulewicz, R. (2022).
Simultaneous mnemonic and predictive representations in the auditory cortex (In Press, Corrected Proof).
Current Biology. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2022.04.022.
Melloni, L. (2022). On keeping our adversaries close, preventing collateral damage,
and changing our minds. Comment on Clark et al. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition,11(1), 45-49. doi:10.1037/mac0000009.
Goldstein, A., Zada, Z., Buchnik, E., Schain, M., Price, A., Aubrey, B., Nastase, S. A., Feder, A., Emanuel, D., Cohen, A.,
Jansen, A., Gazula, H., Choe, G., Rao, A., Kim, C., Casto, C., Fanda, L., Doyle, W., Friedman, D., Dugan, P., Melloni, L.,
Reichart, R., Devore, S., Flinker, A., Hasenfratz, L., Levy, O., Hassidim, A., Brenner, M., Matias, Y., Norman, K. A., Devinsky,
O., & Hasson, U. (2022). Shared computational principles for language processing
in humans and deep language models. Nature Neuroscience,25,
Iemi, L., Gwilliams, L., Samaha, J., Auksztulewicz, R., Cycowicz, Y. M., King, J.-R., Nikulin, V. V., Thesen, T., Doyle, W.,
Devinsky, O., Schroeder, C. E., Melloni, L., & Haegens, S. (2022). Ongoing neural
oscillations influence behavior and sensory representations by suppressing neuronal excitability.
NeuroImage,247: 118746. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118746.
Yaron, I., Melloni, L., Pitts, M., & Mudrik, L. (2022). The ConTraSt database for
analysing and comparing empirical studies of consciousness theories. Nature Human Behaviour.
Pu, Y., Kong, X.-Z., Ranganath, C., & Melloni, L. (2022). Event boundaries shape
temporal organization of memory by resetting temporal context. Nature Communications,13: 622. doi:10.1038/s41467-022-28216-9.
Our research program spans cognitive and systems neuroscience. We are always on the lookout for master students, graduate students and post-docs with expertise in any of the following areas: Electrophysiology, Neuroimaging, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Neurinformatics or Biomedical Engineering.
Potential undergraduate/graduate students and post-docs should contact Lucia Melloni directly at:
Federico de Martino
Caspar M. Schwiedrzik