Theme LeaderAssociate Professor Naotsugu Tsuchiya
T: +61 3 9905 4564
E: Naotsugu.Tsuchiya@ monash.edu
Memory and Consciousness
We are interested in understanding the neuronal basis of consciousness.
Conscious experience remains a fundamental and almost mysterious research topic in science. Our team members research some of the “big” questions in science, including:
- What neuronal mechanisms produce subjective experience when we, for example listen to the rain, see a face, observe a moment, or feel pain?
- Can we pharmacologically induce altered states of consciousness and what are the mechanisms by which this occurs?
- How does our conscious experience vary with attention?
- Do individual differences in our genetics influence our ability to monitor ongoing behaviour and to consciously detect performance errors?
- In an absence of external sensory inputs, how is dream content produced by neuronal activity in the brain?
- How is the conscious experience of your own body affected and modified by prior sensory experience?
- How does observing others’ sensory or emotional experiences affect the conscious experience of your own body?
- How is our consciousness affected by traumatic brain injury?
We study these questions in healthy human volunteers, psychiatric populations, and people with traumatic head injuries, using a variety of techniques ranging from behavioral studies (visual psychophysics, eye tracking, etc), pharmacological manipulations, genetic analysis, neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG and TMS) and electrophysiological recordings of neurons.
SBS Insight " Conscious or not,", where A/Prof Nao Tsuchiya discuss our scientific understanding of consciousness. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/insight/tvepisode/conscious-or-not
Working out the meaning of life - a research that was awarded a commendation from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Dr Melita Giummarra's work was featured in the Australian
- Other people can feel your pain
- Sufferer who feels other people's pain lends herself to science
- Pain can be contagious for some
Melita Giummarra is undertaking a range of experiments that involve body illusions (e.g., the rubber hand illusion) that aim to examine whether and how the appearance of the body, emotions (e.g., fear and disgust) affect sensory processing (pain).
Naotsugu Tsuchiya investigates 1) the scope and limits of non-conscious processing, 2) the relationship between attention and consciousness and 3) the neuronal mechanisms of consciousness by analyzing the multi-channel neurophysiological data from humans and animals and 4) empirically testing the theory of consciousness.
Jeroen van Boxtel researches (1) the influence of attention on conscious and unconscious perception, with a special interest in conditions where attention decreases conscious processing, (2) the variability of human action understanding and perception in the typical population and links to autism spectrum disorder.
- Robert Hester, L. Sanjay Nandam, Redmond G. O’Connell, Joe Wagner, Mark Strudwick, Pradeep J. Nathan, Jason B. Mattingley, and Mark A. Bellgrove (2012) Neurochemical Enhancement of Conscious Error Awareness, Journal of Neuroscience
- van Boxtel, J. J. A., Tsuchiya, N. (2014) “De-confounding neuronal constitution of phenomenal consciousness from attention, report and memory” The constitution of phenomenal consciousness: Toward a science and theory (editor Steve M. Miller), Amsterdam, John Benjamins
- Tsuchiya N & Koch C “Relationship between consciousness and attention” in Cognitive Neuroscience V (ed Gazzaniga) (2014), pp. 839-853
- S. Wang, N. Tsuchiya, R. Hurlemann, J. New, R. Adolphs (2014). “Preferential attention to animals and people is independent of the amygdala.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.