ACNS2012 - Keynote Speakers and Symposia

Dr John Serences

Attention and the efficiency of information processing in human visual cortex

Keynote Lecture - 6:00pm Thursday 29th November - Sponsored by Cambridge Research Systems

John Serences is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Work in his lab employs converging methods including computational modeling, psychophysics, fMRI and EEG to study how attentional factors influence perceptual processing, working memory and decision making. Serences did his undergraduate work at the University of California, San Diego under the guidance of Dr. Harold Pashler, his graduate work at Johns Hopkins University with Dr. Steven Yantis, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Salk Institute with Dr. Geoffrey Boynton. He was a faculty member in the department of Cognitive Sciences at UC Irvine for 1.5 years before moving back to UCSD in 2008. Work in his lab is generously funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health and a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award.

Professor Christian Keysers

The empathic brain

Keynote Lecture - 4:30pm Friday 30th November

Professor Christian Keysers studied Biology and Psychology in Germany (University of Konstanz) and Boston (MIT, Harvard) and made his PhD in St Andrews with David Perrett on the neural basis of facial perception. In 2000, he moved to Parma, Italy where he worked with Giacomo Rizzolatti in the laboratory where mirror neurons were discovered. He contributed to the discovery of auditory mirror neurons in primates and showed that the idea of mirror neurons also applies to our emotions and sensations using fMRI in humans. He then moved to Groningen, the Netherlands, where he became a full professor for the social brain in 2008. In 2010, he moved to Amsterdam to become a department head at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, a research institute of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been published in leading journals, including Science, Neuron, Trends in Cognitive Sciences and Current Biology. He is the author of the award winning book “The Empathic Brain” ( that explains how the science of mirror neurons has changed our understanding of human nature and psychiatric disorders.

Professor Kia Nobre

Temporal expectations: the fourth dimension in attention

Keynote Lecture - 4:30pm Saturday 1st December

Anna Christina (known as Kia) Nobre is a cognitive neuroscientist interested in understanding the principles of the neural systems that support cognitive functions in the human brain. Her current research investigates how neural activity linked to perception and cognition is dynamically modulated according to memories, task goals, and expectations. She is also interested in understanding how these fine and large-scale regulatory mechanisms develop, and how they are disturbed in disorders of mental health. Her work integrates behavioural methods with a powerful combination of non-invasive techniques to image and stimulate the human brain. Kia obtained her PhD from Yale University. She moved to Oxford in 1994 where she is now Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow of Psychology at New College. Kia directs the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, a state-of-the-art facility for scientists investigating the neural dynamics that underpin human cognition and the neural deficits in psychiatric and neurological disorders, and heads the Brain & Cognition Lab, in the Department of Experimental Psychology.

Plenary Symposium 1

Understanding Schizophrenia: Phenomenological, cognitive, and neuroscience perspectives

9:00am Friday 30th November

Professor Sohee Park, Vanderbilt University, USA
Abandoned body, weakened self and the internal landscape of schizophrenia

Professor Ulrich Schall, University of Newcastle
Brain Imaging Correlates of Emerging Schizophrenia

Dr Alex Fornito, University of Melbourne
Connectomic disturbances in schizophrenia

Dr Sharna Jamadar, Monash University
Functional mapping of semantic association in schizophrenia

Chaired by Professor Pat Michie, University of Newcastle

Plenary Symposium 2

Action Understanding, Autism, and Mirroring

9:00am Saturday 1st December

Dr Kevin Pelphrey, Yale University, USA
Building a translational social neuroscience of autism

Dr Valeria Gazzola, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
Somatosensation in action

Dr Peter Enticott, Monash University
Do mirror systems play a role in social cognition and autism?

Chaired by A/Professor Ross Cunnington, University of Queensland

Plenary Symposium 3

Vision and Perceptual Awareness

9:00am Sunday 2nd December

Dr Derek Arnold, University of Queensland
Why is binocular rivalry uncommon?

Dr Olivia Carter, University of Melbourne
Onset rivalry: Brief presentation isolates an early independent phase of perceptual competition.

Dr Joel Pearson, University of New South Wales
Accumulating decisional evidence without awareness

Dr Nao Tsuchiya, Monash University
Towards a system-level understanding of conscious vision

Chaired by Professor Jason Mattingley, University of Queensland