[local physicists] Colloquium Announcement 1/24/2012 (Dr. Efstratios Manousakis)

Malin, Delicia M. dmalin at odu.edu
Tue Jan 24 10:33:04 EST 2012

Old Dominion University
Department of Physics

Spring Colloquium Series

Tuesday January 24, 2012

"Mathematical Description of the Operation of Consciousness:  When Perceptual Time Stands Still"

Dr. Efstratios Manousakis
Florida State University

A mathematical formalism is sought to describe the subjective (first-person experience) or abstract/mental process of perception by examining the general character and operation of the process of perception. This formalism should describe the psycho-physical dynamics of the subjective or cognitive experience as communicated to us by the subject.  By making some simple observations of the nature of awareness as we all experience it, we derive a formalism to describe basic aspects of the first-person experience of perception, which exactly parallels the structure of quantum mechanics. Namely, we find that the formalism of orthodox quantum theory of measurement, where the observer plays a key role, may be a broader mathematical foundation which can be adopted to describe the dynamics of the subjective experience.  Subsequently, the formalism is used to describe simple perception processes and, in particular, to describe the probability distribution of dominance duration (PDDD) obtained from the testimony of subjects experiencing binocular rivalry. Using this theory and parameters based on known values of neuronal oscillation frequencies and firing rates, the calculated PDDD of rival states in binocular rivalry under various conditions is found to be in good agreement with available experimental data.  Motivated by this theory, we carried out binocular rivalry experiments with a large number of subjects to obtain high quality statistics on PDDD for the case where the rival stimulus is periodically removed to test detailed counter-intuitive predictions of this theory. The data and the theoretical predictions are in very good agreement using no adjustable parameters.

The audience is not required to have any prior knowledge of these phenomena as they will be illustrated during the talk.

Presentation: Physical Sciences Building II 1100 @ 3:00 pm
Refreshments: 1st Floor Atrium @ 2:30 pm

More details at http://www.physics.odu.edu
All are Welcome!

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