Herbstakademie Ascona 2006 (9.10.06/CB/Tsch)

 ABSTRACTS (oral presentations)

THURSDAY, October 5th

Hermann HAKEN Stuttgart (D)
A Model of Cognitive Pattern Formation Based on Synergetics
In this introductory lecture, I will discuss dynamic systems theory and related approaches with respect to their potentialities and limitations concerning cognition. Thus I will address fields such as dynamic systems theory, bifurcation theory, chaos theory, general system theory, synergetics, the theory of stochastic processes and some more.
One may safely say that dynamic systems theory originated from the mathematical treatment of the motion of celestial bodies, in particular the motion of the planets around the sun. Basically the motion, i.e. the dynamics, is described by differential equations that determine the velocities and positions of the individual bodies because of the forces exerted on them. The equations are deterministic. The development of dynamic systems theory includes both quantitative and qualitative approaches and incorporates branches such as chaos theory and bifurcation theory. Among the concepts are stability, instability, and attractors. This approach ignores, however, the role of fluctuations that may be quite important. In modern science, whenever a mathematical treatment of systems whose states change in the course of time is asked for, dynamic systems theory is taken into consideration.
The interdisciplinary field of synergetics originated from laser physics. It is based on a mathematical approach that, taking into account deterministic and stochastic processes, deals quite generally with the formation and functioning of structures, irrespective of the nature of the material substrate and thus applies to a great variety of disciplines. The methodology of synergetics allows us to unearth far-reaching analogies between otherwise quite different systems.
Finally, I will discuss neural network approaches. They are mainly based on comparatively simple rules about the action of the individual elements (model neurons), but because of the network character require computers. More recently, analytical treatments were developed in particular for studying effects of synchronization between groups of neurons. Without going into the technical details of all these approaches I will discuss their applicability to various aspects of cognitive science, in particular to the problem of emergence.

Paul ZIOLO Liverpool (UK)
Catastrophe Theory Semantics and the Principles of Embodied Cognition
The elementary catastrophes and the transversality theorem they derive from point to a class of deep structures inherent in the very space-time fabric of the universe we inhabit and express the deepest principles of human morphogenesis and embodiment. Rather than being static in the sense of the Platonic forms, they are structurally stable dynamic flows, which are capable, by virtue of their topologies and through mutual embedding within one another, of very high variance.
Catastrophe Theory Semantics (CTS) applies the principles of catastrophe theory to the study of language emergence and cognition. The field was initiated by René Thom, then developed during the 80's and 90's by Wolfgang Wildgen, Jean Petitot, Franson Manjali and others, including thepresent author. CTS investigates the pre-verbal affective and cognitive dynamics that arise prior to the concretisation of a given utterance in everyday speech or writing. This paper will briefly demonstrate the ways in which catastrophe-derived structures, called archetypal morphologies, are derived from trajectories through the “canonical” manifolds, how these morphologies underlie the case structures of different language families and how they interconnect and become enfielded within one another in flows of discourse. Examples will be drawn from everyday English, literature and political propaganda.
These examples will show that in revealing the continuities and discontinuities that underlie the specific phoneme-combinations, concepts, sentences and syntax of language production, CTS does not necessarily offer an “alternative” mode of analysis to the more “discretised” syntactic paradigms of Frege or Chomsky, but rather supports and complements them, inviting us to consider them as specific instantiations of a more general “naturalising phenomenology” relating to human embodiment.
The power of CTS as a heuristic tool is that in revealing both the psychodynamic and cognitive structures underlying the flow of discourse, it is also independent of any specific language. It therefore has a far wider range of applicability than any mode of analysis tied to the more specific syntactic framework of any single language group.

FRIDAY, October 6th

Rolf PFEIFER Zürich (CH)
How the Body Shapes the Way we Think
The classical approach to artificial intelligence, also called the cognitivistic approach, views intelligence at the level of algorithms or computer programs. Algorithms, by definition, do not have any interesting kinds of dynamics. With the advent of embodiment — the incorporation of morphology, materials, control, and interaction with the environment into a theory of intelligence — the situation has changed dramatically. If we are to build embodied agents we must understand the interaction and tradeoffs between these aspects, which is the essence of the "principle of ecological balance”, one of a set of design principles for intelligent systems (see below).
Rather than focusing on the neural substrate only, in the embodied approach the focus is on the complete organism, which includes morphology (shape, distribution and physical characteristics of sensors and actuators, limbs, etc.) and materials. Often, given a particular task environment, if the morphology and the materials are right, the amount of neural processing (or more generally, control) required may be dramatically reduced. Stated differently, we not only have to take the neural dynamics into account but also the physical dynamics of the agent and how it interacts with the neural one.
The synthetic methodology, i.e. the methodology of "understanding by building”, which serves to understand natural phenomena such as walking, perception, or memory, proceeds by building physical systems, and then tries to abstract general principles of intelligent behavior. In a number of scientific disciplines — biology, neuroscience, psychology, and robotics — there has lately been a surge of interest in human development, from infants to adults. In developmental robotics, where robots are employed to elucidate developmental processes, robots interact with their environments over extended periods of time, mimicking a developmental process, which enables the robot to acquire its own "personal history”. In contrast to humans, this "personal history” can be completely recorded into time series files and subjected to statistical and information theoretic analyses. This opens up entirely novel possibilities for cognitive science and provides, for example, the basis for studying the so-called "symbol grounding problem”, how symbols come to be used to convey meaning. It turns out that the ability to move and interact with the real world is an essential enabler of meaning acquisition.
In the presentation, I will introduce a number of abstract principles that characterize intelligent embodied systems, i.e. the principle of "cheap design”, the principle of "sensory-motor coordination”, and the principle of "ecological balance”. They will be illustrated with examples from our own research and from work by other research laboratories. I will speculate about how embodied artificial intelligence might contribute to a dynamical theory of cognition and outline a few issues that I consider essential for future research.

Wolfgang TSCHACHER Bern (CH)
Three Reasons why Functional Cognition must be Embodied
Cognitive science has always been confronted with mind-body issues—the core question being, in which way can mentalist and physical/biological approaches to cognition be integrated? The two most radical answers ("There is no mind", and "There is no body") are ruled out by most researchers — thus, "embodied cognition" is the only surviving alternative, my first reason for embodiment. But there are (at least) two more reasons why cognition is best conceived of as embodied. My second reason is, the mind is not computational or pre-programmed; there must be an emergent quality to mental process. Mental process is not determined by the genome, or by brain structure, or by environmental stimuli alone. This means, some pattern formation/self-organization dynamics likely underlies cognition. As self-organization only occurs in open systems, the cognitive system therefore needs an environment (namely its body). T hird, the relationship of mind and body cannot be arbitrary. For cognition to be functional and adaptive (which is often true), an understanding is sought of how the self-organizing cognitive patterns can be functional with respect to their embodiment, or, generally, environment. It is assumed that all three reasons can be formulated within a synergetic theoretical framework.

Susanne VROBEL Kassel (D)
Simultaneity and Contextualization: The Now's Fractal Event Horizon
The query as to how the mind may interact with its context begs the further question "What is the boundary connecting the mind and its context?". We generate reality by distinguishing between self and non-self. The interfacial cut between self and non-self produces a boundary, which should not be imagined as a mere line, but rather as an intersection.
The interface between the observer participant and the rest of the world is the Now, the event horizon within which simultaneity may be generated. The Now is a temporal natural constraint, which must be assumed to be extended and to display a nested structure. The nested structure of the Now results from the superposition of simultaneous levels of description generated by the observer participant, which renders possible the anticipation of simultaneous impacts from the outside world.
The extension of the world-observer interface grows with each new embedding performance, i.e., each successful contextualization. Total congruence between inside and outside simultaneity would result in sheer simultaneity. This would entail a loss of self, as the boundary between self and non-self would cease to exist as a boundary: The boundary would host both self and non-self.
The question as to how simultaneity may be generated is exemplified by conditioning experiments and our perception of multi-layered signals. Wider implications such as the question as to whether there is a healthy boundary extension are discussed within the context of local and global processing. As global states both arise from and constrain local ones, the only meeting point, the Now, both generates and is subjected to embedding levels of description. Achieving and maintaining a healthy boundary extension remains a perpetual balancing act.

Karl GRAMMER Vienna (A)
Embodied Communication in Humans and Machines
Research in human communication on an ethological basis is almost obsolete. The reasons for this are manifold and lie partially in methodological problems connected to the observation and description of behavior, as well as the nature of human behavior itself. In this talk, we present a new, non-intrusive, technical approach to the analysis of human non-verbal behavior, which could help to solve the problem of categorization that plagues the traditional approaches. We utilize evolutionary theory to propose a new theory-driven methodological approach to the "multi-unit multi-channel modulation” problem of human nonverbal communication. Within this concept, communication is seen as context- dependent (the meaning of a signal is adapted to the situation), as a multichannel and a multi-unit process (a string of many events interrelated in "communicative” space and time), and as related to the function it serves. Such an approach can be utilized to successfully bridge the gap between evolutionary psychological research, which focuses on social cognition adaptations, and human ethology, which describes every day behavior in an objective, systematic way.

Steven BOKER Notre Dame (USA)
Embodiment of Self and Other: Mutual Regulation of Affective Symmetry in Conversation
In conversation, head nods, gestures, postural adjustments, and facial expressions have frequently been reported to exhibit coordination. One way to think about this coordination is in terms of spatio-temporal symmetry formation and attendant symmetry breaking. In this view, mirroring in conversation is part of a dynamic process that regulates interpersonal coordination. A recent theory to account for mirroring involves so-called mirror neurons; neural structures that are responsive both to actions of oneself as well as visually perceived actions of others. fMRI evidence has implicated these mirror neuron structures in language perception. Affect can be perceived through the nonverbal actions that exhibit symmetry formation and symmetry breaking in conversation. One possible conclusion is that during conversation we embody our own affect as well as the perceived affect of others in order to communicate and attain mutual understanding of each other’s inner a ffective states. This talk reports results of an experiment in which motion of body and head position is tracked synchronously with facial expression for pairs of individuals conversing over a closed circuit television link. We interpret these results in the framework of dynamic regulation of mutual affect through the embodiment of self and others.

Hermann HAKEN and Juval PORTUGALI Stuttgart / Tel Aviv (D / ISR)
The Relations between Shannonian and Semantic Information and their Implication to Cognition and Embodiment
Shannon’s information theory defines information as a pure quantity irrespective of its meaning. This is the theory’s basic property and achievement. Since its introduction, the theory was applied to a variety of domains ranging from engineering to biology, brain sciences and cognition. In some of these applications the theory’s basic property was indeed retained, but in others it was not. In the latter, semantics entered in disguise, usually implicitly. In this paper we first explicate the semantic component of such applications and examine their implications. We then suggest a distinction between two forms of Shannonian information – with and without meaning. Next, we explore how semantic information is created. We do so by reference to the processes of pattern recognition and categorization. Finally we discuss some theoretical and practical implications.

Gerhard LUHN Dresden (D)
Framework for a Triadic Information Concept
„Das Selbe aber ist Sein und Denken.“ „For the same thing is for thinking and for being.” .Parmenides
Although Parmenides’ poem is only very fragmentarily known, it shows that he is arguing against a common spirit of the age. It was thought, that everything is just changing and moving, without any more or less conceptual background. But swimming against the stream costs energy. The work of Noam Chomsky is another example for such an approach. The credo of such a spirit is a doing, in order to create new opportunities, build new causality chains. – But it seems that this doing needs an elaborated concept of word, of language. Such language – or similar structural activation networks – has to ensure the concept of multiple connectivity of prior unconnected information, and though creation of new informational classes. I will argue that the physical concept of such connectivity is created by non-local system characteristics. The Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico has already discovered such non-local conception of language. He sta yed that prior to any sentence, to any propositional statement, is a phantasm. He called this capability of creating phantasms the “universale fantastico”. So, if we learn something new, this new concept will emerge to a new regularity; and will establish a causal, lawful status. In consequence we create new opportunities for our actions, and though freedom. Such new conceptual regularity stands in between the change of a system, or of communicating systems. The shape of a system is information. The triadic information concept is though based on the conceptual possibility of change. This includes the change of a single system as well as the change of communicating systems.
While C.S. Peirce has already introduced such a triadic semantics, information science is still searching for a successor of Claude Shannons dyadic, probabilistic information concept. Recently the physicist Hans Grassmann has done a proposal for such a non-probabilistic information concept (Grassmann 2002). He is arguing that information storage is consuming physical work, while pure information processing does not consume physical work. Such information processing deals only with the transformation of an input vector to an output vector. Only the creation and storage of new information is characterized through dissipation of energy. This will lead automatically to new structured order, and though to a triadic concept (sender, receiver and lawful regularity between those). The system of order will increase, if such new order corresponds to “reality”. It may also decrease, if unexpected surrounding conditions are changing.
But this formal concept of triadic information appears also in our heads, and is based on non-formalized thinking. Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker has characterized this circle, but comes to the conclusion, that this circle is in effect needed to sharpen our thinking and acting. This means, that the triadic information concept is based on a homomorph epistemological approach. While for example evolutionary epistemology is arguing for an isomorphic relationship between knowledge and reality, this can not be justified from a position, which is based on the acceptance of non-formalized thinking and the unpredictable appearance of implicit knowledge. Where does the information in the universe comes from, how can knowledge emerge from such information? How can lawful regularities appear in nature and though in our thinking? How can a triadic information concept, - a “continuous interconnected thinking” of information and the lawful regularities based on such inf ormation – add value to our work?

SATURDAY, October 7th

Thomas METZINGER Mainz (D)
1E, 2E, 3E, the PSM and the PMIR: Three Kinds of Embodiment, the Phenomenal Self, and the First-Person Perspective
I will first introduce three different notions of embodiment, first-order embodiment (1E), second-order embodiment (2E), and third-order embodiment (3E) in order to counteract the semantic vagueness the term has acquired in recent debates. Then I will sketch a strategy of accommodating the perspectivalness of consciousness within an empirically plausible theory of mental representation. An important step in adopting this strategy will consist in introducing a new theoretical entity: The phenomenal self-model. The model of the self differs from every other mental model in an essential point. It possesses a part, which is exclusively based on internally generated input: the part of the body image activated by proprioceptive input. For instance, recent research concerning the pain experienced in phantom limbs seems to point tothe existence of a genetically determined neuromatrix whose activation patterns could be the basis of the body image and the subjectiv e experience of embodiment. The part of this neural activation pattern, which is independent of external input, produces a continuous representational basis for the body model of the self and in this way anchors it in the brain by generating a persistent functional link. In almost all situations when there is phenomenal consciousness at all, there also exists this unspecific, internal source of input. It is the most "certain" and stable region within the model of the self. In this way our consciousness becomes a centered consciousness.
However, in order for the functional/representational property of centeredness to become the phenomenal property of perspectivalness, the model of the system must become a phenomenal self. The pivotal question is: How does that which we commonly call the phenomenal first-person perspective emerge in a centered representational space? A conscious self emerges if the system no longer recognizes the model of the self which it itself activated as a model. If it did, representational and functional centeredness would remain, but the global phenomenal properties of selfhood and perspectivalness would disappear. In short: the system would have a self-model, but no phenomenal self. The representational correlate - the self-model - is a functional module, episodically activated by the system in order to regulate its interaction with the environment. One can also develop a "teleofunctionalist" approach: The model of the system then appears as a kind o f organ which emerges through the binding of a certain set of micro-functional properties and enables the system to represent itself in its environment to itself. So the self-model is a transient computational module, possessing a long biological history: It is a weapon, which was developed in the course of a "cognitive arms-race" (Andy Clark, 1989). A real phenomenal self however, only emerges if the system, metaphorically speaking, "confuses" itself with the internal model of itself which it itself has generated. I claim that the activation of a transparent self-model is the most important necessary (but not sufficient) condition for the instantiation of what philosophers like to call the "first-person perspective": While activating a special type of representational object, the system gets caught in a naive-realistic self-misunderstanding and in this way generates a phenomenal subject. If time allows, I want to close by briefly investigating what further constraints have to be met in order for a phenomenal first-person perspective to lay the foundations for social cognition: How do we get from a consciously represented first-person perspective to the cognitive representation of a first-person plural perspective?
References: For readers interested in an English summary of the theory sketched above I recommend the following two publications:
Metzinger, T. (2005). Précis of „Being No One“. In PSYCHE – An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness, 11 (5), 1-35. http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/symposia/metzinger/precis.pdf.
Metzinger, T. (2003). Being No One - The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Andreas ALTORFER Bern (CH)
Adaptive Systems of Head Movement Activity in Everyday Life – Appearance, Characteristic, Behavioural Relation and Meaning
Head movement patterns are embedded in behavioural performance of everyday life. Their presentation depends on multiple biological and psychological factors that take part in specific situations. Research interest in head movement behaviour can be found in social interaction (including verbal and nonverbal communication), psychomotor activity, and goal oriented behaviour. While head movement behaviour is usually rated, there is little knowledge about the dynamic emergence of movement patterns over time. Moreover, movement behaviour is described using predefined categories that reduce the presented complex variability to observable units in time and space. In contrast, applying a direct measurement of head movement patterns, results concerning 4 different domains are presented: 1. The detection of head movement patterns relevant for the course of interaction during conversation – especially occurring in situations of emotional stress, 2. The presentation of h ead movement behaviour in situations established through different experimental tasks, 3. The impact of biological manipulation on behavioural presentation of head movement patterns and activity, and 4. The specific role of head movements during goal oriented behaviour – especially investigated during coordinated movements of eye and head. An evaluation of the head movement dynamic is done by an application of the situational information in combination with quantified head movement patterns. Thereby, relevant head movement patterns are detected using empirical evidence; a three-dimensional quantification of head movements is related to environmental data to show their dynamic variation. In this respect emblematic aspects of head movement patterns are described.

Günter SCHIEPEK and Igor TOMINSCHEK Bamberg (D)
The Embodiment of Cognitive and Emotional Phase-Transitions in the Brain
The brain is one of the most complex nonlinear dynamic systems we know, working at the "edge of chaos" (as W. Freeman quotes it). So we can suppose that nonlinear phase-transitions are common phenomena in neural networks, taking place at different time scales. The question is how the brain represents instability (or stability) and how these neural activity patterns correspond to mental and behavioural phase transitions. Two examples - one in the field of motor behaviour, using the well known Haken-Kelso finger movement paradigm, and the other in the field of psychotherapy processes - will be used to approach to some answers. The psychotherapy study uses repeated fMRI measures corresponding to stable or instable periods in the subjective experience of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorders. The data are sampled by daily subjective self-ratings using pocket-PDAs.

Zeno KUPPER Bern (CH)
Body, Mind and Mindfulness – Traditional and Cognitive Psychotherapy Perspectives
Recent developments in clinical psychology and psychotherapy have been influenced and inspired by Buddhist mindfulness traditions. Specific interventions for a wide variety of disorders such as psychosomatic disorders, borderline personality disorders and depression incorporate elements from mindfulness traditions. In these interventions, some form of mindfulness meditation, as well as a corresponding view, stressing awareness and acceptance are introduced. Randomized controlled trials suggest that these mindfulness-inspired interventions are effective. Interestingly, these developments seem to be more than a mere incorporation of new therapeutic techniques. Aaron T. Beck, the founder of cognitive psychotherapy, has summarized striking similarities between concepts of cognitive psychotherapy and traditional Buddhist psychology. For example, both approaches stress the illusory (or irrational, dreamlike) nature of much of what human beings ordinarily "think&qu ot;. Beck describes this as "egocentric biases leading to excessive or inappropriate anger, envy, cravings, etc. … and false beliefs." False beliefs span from a person with depressions' conviction that he or she is the "a total failure" to the common believe in the existence of a solid, permanent "self". Both mindfulness traditions and cognitive psychotherapy assume that such illusions or false beliefs are a basis for mild and extreme forms of human suffering and present methods to overcome false beliefs, as to develop a more open, realistic and joyful approach to life. Common methods according to Beck include (1) a focus on the immediate (here and now) (2) targeting the biased thinking (3) he use of imagery (4) separating distress from pain and (5) mindfulness training. The body, somewhat neglected in cognitive psychotherapy, plays a crucial role in mindfulness meditation. Elements of mindfulness meditation, such as upright posture and awareness of the breath exemplify this. In the mindfulness traditions, awareness of the body has been termed as a "foundation of mindfulness" and the body has been described as "the stabilizing element that brings mind to the present" (Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche).

Fabian RAMSEYER Bern (CH)
Coordination of Nonverbal Behavior in Psychotherapy: Synchrony as a Marker of Rapport?
Background. Previous studies have conceptualized nonverbal coordination between client and therapist as nonverbal components of the working alliance.
Our goal was to quantify the level of coordination in dyadic psychotherapies in order to explore behavioral synchrony and its interrelation with rapport.
Methods. Nonverbal analysis focused on movement patterns of client and therapist during the course of selected sessions. The raw data consisted of video sequences recorded by two cameras. Data collection was accomplished by motion energy analysis carried out by a fully automated frame-by-frame examination of the video sequences resulting in basic descriptors of each subject’s individual movement patterns. Coordination was measured as the time delay between movements of the interactants. Additionally, time series of the temporal flow of motion energy were compared and signs of simultaneous and time-lagged movements were being automatically detected. Various features thus quantified synchronization of nonverbal activity between client and therapist. These features were then related to post-session evaluations of both client and therapist (session impact scores) and other outcome measures.
Results. Findings showed that in a sample of 48 highly successful -and unsuccessful therapy sessions, the quality of the therapeutic bond was positively correlated with the amount of synchrony for that session. Additionally, global movement parameters revealed that turn-taking was more prominent in sessions where therapists rating of patients’ cooperation was high.
Discussion. This exploratory analysis of selected therapy courses showed that the chosen methodology was appropriate for the investigation of the role of synchrony in psychotherapy sessions and its interrelation with empathy.

Jörg TROJAN Mannheim (D)
Perceptual Somatotopic Maps of the Body Surface
The representation of the body surface in the primary somatosensory cortex can be measured with a range of neuroimaging methods. The resulting spatial activation patterns are often interpreted as if being iso- or at least homomorph to perceptual patterns. This simplified view neglects the operational differences between the mental construct of subjective space and the physical space of the brain activations, whatever their ontological status and/or relation.
In this paper, we present a psychophysical approach to the parametrisation of subjective space: Invisible CO2 laser stimuli were presented to the dorsal forearm and direct position ratings were used to constitute somatotopic maps of the perceived stimulus positions.
The laser stimuli could be localised quite consistently but individually varying biases were present, mostly leading to a “compressed” perceptual map compared to the actual stimulus positions. Modulating the responses through skin sensitisation with capsaicin resulted in increased distortions. In addition, it could be demonstrated that spatiotemporal interactions in the sub-second range (the saltation phenomenon, Geldard & Sherrick, 1972) dynamically distort the perceptual maps (Trojan et al., 2006).
Our method allows to parametrically map the subjective space to the physical space of brain activations and vice versa by calculating the relation between perceptual and cerebral maps. Spatiotemporal “illusions” like saltation are of special interest, as they involve specific, well-defined distortions in the subjective space, which most likely relate to particular cerebral activation patterns. First attempts to measure (Blankenburg et al., 2006) and model (Wiemer et al., 1995) such underlying neural integration mechanisms have been made, but need further refinement.

Nathalie POEPEL Osnabrück (D)
From Body to Action: Body Sensing as a Tool for Overcoming Procrastination
To enact an intention, people need to generate energy to do so. According to the concept of action and state orientation (Kuhl, 2001), people differ in their ability to self-generate this energy. State oriented people (SOP) tend to behaviour inhibition, procrastination, reduced wellbeing and increased left hemispheric activation, but only in demanding situations. On the contrary, action oriented people (AOP) show increased performance skills and wellbeing under the same conditions.
It is hypothesized that body sensing (perceiving bodily sensations and changing them) helps SOPs to overcome inhibition. It is assumed that sensing ones body leads to an increase in right hemispheric processing and as a result of this to an activation of the self-system. According to Kuhl´s Person-System-Interaction-Theory (PSI-Theory), the self supports the generation of enactment energy and thus increases reaction speed. This idea was empirically examined in a series of simple reaction time experiments. Body sensing interventions were compared to cognitive rumination, cognitive distraction and neutral conditions. Results support the basic assumption: SOPs in cognitive load conditions were significantly slower than AOPs, but gained in reaction speed (up to 60 msec) under body sensing conditions and thus performed as good as AOPs. Furthermore, emotional wellbeing only improved after body sensing but not after cognitive interventions. Implications of these findings f or further studies and psychotherapy will be discussed.

Benita CANTIENI Zürich (CH)
CANTIENICA ® - Method for Bodyshape and Posture.
Cognition of the physical Embodiment through Awareness
Thesis. Bodily posture highly influences Emotion and Cognition. Bodily posture without cognitive awareness is mainly a consequence of imitation from the social environment, from imitation of social role models (i.e. parents, friends, teachers, cultural role models), of frozen-in Emotions in the body (i.e. stress, fear, resignation, shyness), and of anatomical misconcepts.
Argumentation. Bodily posture is a result, not a condition. Within the limits of one’s innate nature the posture can be changed as long as we live. Postural deformities can be adjusted through alterations in the posture and in postural movement. With the postural changes, the emotional embodiment changes, too. Examples can and have been made visible through a test series with Infrared Thermography.
Conclusion. Rearrangement of posture through realignment of the skeletal bones and joints changes the array of musculature, sinews, ligaments, and fasciae. Embraced by the term „Basic Embodiment“ this concept of realignment consists of easy to follow steps to erect the pelvis and the thorax, straighten up the entire spine, and align all major joints. Through this profound alignment all musculature gets consciously interconnected, releasing the joints of the body of compression and friction. This realignment enables the “basic emotional state” to change into a spontaneous ability of response.

SUNDAY, October 8th

Rafael NUNEZ San Diego (USA)
Abstraction and the Embodied Mind: The empirical Study of Spatial Construals of Time
Cognitive research on metaphoric concepts of time has focused on differences between moving Ego and moving time models, but even more basic is the contrast between Ego- and temporal-reference-point models. Dynamic models appear to be quasi-universal cross-culturally, as does the generalization that in Ego-reference-point models, FUTURE IS IN FRONT OF EGO and PAST IS IN BACK OF EGO. The Aymara language instead has a major static model of time wherein FUTURE IS BEHIND EGO and PAST IS IN FRONT OF EGO; linguistic and gestural data give strong confirmation of this unusual culture-specific cognitive pattern. Gestural data provide crucial information unavailable to purely linguistic analysis, suggesting that when investigating conceptual systems both forms of expression should be analyzed complementary. Important issues in embodied cognition are raised: how fully shared are bodily grounded motivations for universal cognitive patterns, what makes a rare pattern emerge, a nd what are the cultural entailments of such patterns?

Harald ATMANSPACHER and Peter beim GRABEN Freiburg (D)
Contextual Emergence of Mental States form Neurodynamics
The emergence of mental states from neural states by partitioning the neural phasespace isanalyzed in terms of symbolic dynamics. Well-defined mental states provide contexts inducing a criterion of structural stability for the neurodynamics that can be implemented by particular partitions called generating partitions. The corresponding stability criterion is applied to the discussion of neural correlates of consciousness. It is shown that mutually compatible mental descriptions, topologically equivalent to the neurodynamical description, emerge if the partition of the neural phase space is generating. If this is not the case, mental descriptions are incompatible or complementary.


Katrin ENDTNER, Hansjörg ZNOJ and Wolfgang TSCHACHER Bern (CH)
Factors Favouring a Constructive Emotion Regulation
Background: The term emotion is generally defined as a set of processes on the neuronal, expressive and cognitive-experimental levels. Emotions are connected inseparably with emotion regulation. Yet until today no generally accepted definition of emotion regulation has been agreed upon. Furthermore there is a lack of knowledge in the principal factors determining constructive emotion regulation despite its importance for everyday life. Previous studies showed that nearly all psychiatric disorders are based on problems in the regulation of emotions.
Aims: Our goal was to shed further light on the process of emotion regulation.
Method: An emotion regulation questionnaire was developed and validated for two clinical samples. Half of the sample met criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD) + major depression (MDE) and the other half of the sample met criteria for MDE without BPD.
Results: Findings offered new insights on the factors of emotion regulation. The findings of the analysis were reliable and valid.
Conclusions: A constructive emotion regulation is based on a balance between emotion, cognition and behaviour. Often one level dominates the others. Psychotherapy should support individuals to recognize their emotions and to balance emotion, cognition and behaviour.

Sabine KOCH Heidelberg (D)
Body Feedback from Motion: Embodiment Effects on Cognition, Attitudes, and Affect
One important line of embodiment research concerns afferent body feedback such as facial feedback or postural feedback (Niedenthal et al., 2005). Body feedback has been researched using relatively static postures without considering movement as a source of influence. The present research set out to consider more dynamic sources of bodily feedback, i.e. movement rhythms and shape as defined in the Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP; Kestenberg et al. 1999) and their effects on the cognitive-affective system.
Four experiments were conducted to explore the influence of movement rhythms and the relative influence of movement rhythms vs movement forms on cognition, affect and attitude. Experiments 1+2 tested the hypotheses that fighting vs indulgent movement rhythms would cause congruent answers on cognitive, affective and attitudinal measures. Experiments 3+4 tested the hypotheses that approach vs avoidance movement would cause congruent answers on cognitive, affective and attitudinal measures (Cacioppo et al, 1993), and that movement rhythms would moderate this effect.
Experiments 1+2 indicated that major assumptions of KMP-theory hold in our samples: Both experiments suggested that fighting vs indulgent rhythms as basic movement qualities (tension-flow system) cause congruent affect reactions. Experiments 3+4 provided evidence that the basic dimensions of the shape-flow/shaping-system (growing vs shrinking) are in fact related to affect and evaluation (attitude formation): Movement rhythms moderated the influence of approach and avoidance motor behavior.

Ulrich KRAMER Lausanne (CH)
Coping and Cognitive Errors in Affective Disorders – New Strategies of Conceptualization
Coping is usually assessed by questionnaires, whereas cognitive errors remain to be evaluated by the clinician in interaction with his patient (Skinner et al., 2003; Kramer, 2005). In this research, we are interested in the observer’s perspective on these concepts and their links with symptomatic level in patients suffering from Affective Disorders. In order to investigate the topic, we conducted semi-structured interviews based on psychotherapeutic principles (Perry et al., 2005) with N=25 inpatients presenting Bipolar Disorder, transcribed and rated these interviews with the observer-rating scale Cognitive Errors and Coping Action Patterns (CECAP; Perry et al., 2004; reliability coefficients between raters ICC>.7). We hypothesized that adaptive coping would be associated with a lower level of symptoms (SCL-90-R, MADRS, MAS), whereas maladaptive coping with a higher level of symptoms. We are also expecting moderate correlations with self-report measures of the same concepts (CISS). Results confirm these hypotheses and will be discussed in the context of enhancement of case conceptualizations and research in clinical psychology and psychotherapy.

Koorosh MASSOUDI and Jérôme ROSSIER Lausanne (CH)
The Impact of Cognitive and Relational Factors on the Career Counselling process
A longitudinal study was conducted at the counselling service of the University of Lausanne, aiming the assessment of the process and the outcomes of vocational guidance. Data was collected on the first and the last sessions with 85 clients aged from 15 to 41 years (Mean = 20.96; SD = 6.39). Career indecision was assessed using the Career Decision-making Difficulties Questionnaire (Gati & Osipow, 2000), Working Alliance was assessed using an adaptation of the Working Alliance Inventory (Horvath, 1981, 1984), and personal satisfaction was assessed using a questionnaire specially elaborated (Rossier et al., 2004). As expected, working alliance had a positive influence on the outcomes of the counselling process. Positive links were observed between working alliance and decrease of career indecision, especially with the scale of Lack of information (r = .34). Working alliance was also a predictor of high satisfaction of clients (r = .59). The decrease of career in decision correlated with client's satisfaction (r = .28). These results suggest that the decrease of career indecision might be considered as a concrete, task-oriented indicator of the efficiency of a vocational counselling process and that clients' satisfaction might be an overall and more abstract indicator of efficacy, which seems to be more dependent of relational aspects. However, both the decrease of career indecision and working alliance contribute to the explanation of clients' satisfaction.

Mario PFAMMATTER, Ulrich JUNGHAN and Hans Dieter Brenner Bern (CH)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy of Delusional Beliefs and Hallucinations: What are the Active Ingredients?
Background: A series of meta-analyses has demonstrated the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis. However, there are marked discrepancies between their findings depending on the homogeneity of the therapeutic approaches with regard to their contents and targets. Thus, an important question relates to the specific therapeutic ingredients of these approaches.
Aims: The presented systematic review tried to identify the active therapeutic components by a cumulative analysis of existing randomized controlled trials and a detailed analysis of moderator variables.
Methods: Several electronic databases as well as the references of previous meta-analyses, reviews and single studies were searched for randomised controlled trials on the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapies in schizophrenia. Weighted mean effect sizes with respect to different comparison groups and different types of outcome were calculated. The significance of the effect sizes was tested by confidence intervals. Moderator analyses and homogeneity tests were applied to examine the influence of different study, therapy and patient characteristics on the significance and consistency of the effects.
Results: Evidence is strongest for the benefit to patients who suffer from persistent hallucinations, delusions, or negative symptoms. Moderator analyses suggest that cognitive restructuring represents a key component in reducing or eliminating hallucinations or delusions. However, as the benefits compared to supportive therapy approaches are modest so-called unspecific effect factors that may be related to emotional or motivational processes must also be considered.
Conclusions: Over the past decade, the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy have been extended to the treatment of schizophrenic patients. In a considerable number of large-scale outcome studies, cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to offer significant and enduring gains on persistent psychotic symptoms. However, compared to adjunctive unspecific psychosocial therapy approaches or with regard to other types of outcome the benefits are much less impressive. Therefore, there is a need to further dismantle the therapeutically active components and to identify the specific mechanisms of therapeutic change.

Thorsten RASCH Landau (D)
Figurative Priming Facilitates Comprehension of Abstracts Sentences
Comprehension of text results in an appropriate and coherent mental representation of the described subject matter. Beyond this representational view, within the framework of embodied cognition comprehension is considered as the experiential simulation of a described situation, comprising the reader's sensorimotor activity.
However, comprehension of abstract subject matters turns out to be challenging the embodied cognition approach. At first sight abstract concepts appear to be amodal entities that are not related to perception nor action, and therefore a bodily basis of abstract thought is questionable.
Cognitive Semantics is concerned with grounding the human conceptual system in preconceptual experiences (M. Johnson, G. Lakoff). It is proposed that we understand abstract concepts in terms of so-called kinesthetic image schemas: Schemas such as blockage, balance, or compulsion reflect “experiential gestalts“ that can be projected on any abstract domain in order to make concepts meaningful.
Consequently we hypothesised that the activation of adequate image schemas could facilitate the comprehension of abstract verbal information. In a priming experiment 48 participants read 84 abstract sentences. Each sentence was preceded by a short visual animation of meaningless objects performing an image-schematic event. The figurative prime was congruent resp. incongruent with the meaning of the subsequent sentence.
According to our assumptions, we observed a significant decrease of reading time and an improved recall when the meaning of the sentence corresponded to the primed image-schematic event. We conclude that kinesthetic image schemas are involved in the process of understanding abstract verbal information.

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