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Evers, Kathinka
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Publications (10 of 44) Show all publications
Pennartz, C. M. A., Farisco, M. & Evers, K. (2019). Indicators and Criteria of Consciousness in Animals and Intelligent Machines: An Inside-Out Approach. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 13, Article ID 25.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Indicators and Criteria of Consciousness in Animals and Intelligent Machines: An Inside-Out Approach
2019 (English)In: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5137, E-ISSN 1662-5137, Vol. 13, article id 25Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In today’s society, it becomes increasingly important to assess which non-human and non-verbal beings possess consciousness. This review article aims to delineate criteria for consciousness especially in animals, while also taking into account intelligent artifacts. First, we circumscribe what we mean with “consciousness” and describe key features of subjective experience: qualitative richness, situatedness, intentionality and interpretation, integration and the combination of dynamic and stabilizing properties. We argue that consciousness has a biological function, which is to present the subject with a multimodal, situational survey of the surrounding world and body, subserving complex decision-making and goal-directed behavior. This survey reflects the brain’s capacity for internal modeling of external events underlying changes in sensory state. Next, we follow an inside-out approach: how can the features of conscious experience, correlating to mechanisms inside the brain, be logically coupled to externally observable (“outside”) properties? Instead of proposing criteria that would each define a “hard” threshold for consciousness, we outline six indicators: (i) goal-directed behavior and model-based learning; (ii) anatomic and physiological substrates for generating integrative multimodal representations; (iii) psychometrics and meta-cognition; (iv) episodic memory; (v) susceptibility to illusions and multistable perception; and (vi) specific visuospatial behaviors. Rather than emphasizing a particular indicator as being decisive, we propose that the consistency amongst these indicators can serve to assess consciousness in particular species. The integration of scores on the various indicators yields an overall, graded criterion for consciousness, somewhat comparable to the Glasgow Coma Scale for unresponsive patients. When considering theoretically derived measures of consciousness, it is argued that their validity should not be assessed on the basis of a single quantifiable measure, but requires cross-examination across multiple pieces of evidence, including the indicators proposed here. Current intelligent machines, including deep learning neural networks (DLNNs) and agile robots, are not indicated to be conscious yet. Instead of assessing machine consciousness by a brief Turing-type of test, evidence for it may gradually accumulate when we study machines ethologically and across time, considering multiple behaviors that require flexibility, improvisation, spontaneous problem-solving and the situational conspectus typically associated with conscious experience.

Keywords
awareness, bird, episodic memory, goal-directed behavior, illusion, robot, rodent, visuospatial behavior
National Category
Neurosciences Ethics Robotics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-389486 (URN)10.3389/fnsys.2019.00025 (DOI)000477743000001 ()31379521 (PubMedID)
Projects
Human Brain Project SGA2
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 785907
Available from: 2019-07-16 Created: 2019-07-16 Last updated: 2019-09-20Bibliographically approved
Northoff, G., Wainio-Theberge, S. & Evers, K. (2019). Is temporo-spatial dynamics the “common currency” of brain and mind?: In Quest of “Spatiotemporal Neuroscience”. Physics of Life Reviews
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Is temporo-spatial dynamics the “common currency” of brain and mind?: In Quest of “Spatiotemporal Neuroscience”
2019 (English)In: Physics of Life Reviews, ISSN 1571-0645, E-ISSN 1873-1457Article, review/survey (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

Neuroscience has made considerable progress in unraveling the neural correlates of mental phenomena like self, consciousness, and perception. However, the “common currency” shared between neuronal and mental activity, brain and mind, remains yet unclear. In this article, we propose that the dynamics of time and space provides a “common currency” that connects neuronal and mental features. Time and space are here understood in a dynamic context (as in contemporary physics): that is, in terms of the way the brain's spontaneous activity constructs its spatial and temporal relationships, for instance in terms of functional connectivity and different frequencies of fluctuations. Recruiting recent empirical evidence, we show that the different ways in which the spontaneous activity constructs its “inner time and space” are manifested in distinct mental features. Specifically, we demonstrate how spatiotemporal mechanisms like spatiotemporal repertoire, integration, and speed yield mental features like consciousness, self, and time speed perception. The focus on the brain's spatiotemporal mechanisms entails what we describe as “Spatiotemporal Neuroscience”. Spatiotemporal Neuroscience conceives neuronal activity in terms of its temporo-spatial dynamics rather than its various functions (e.g., cognitive, affective, social, etc.) as in other branches of neuroscience (as distinguished from Cognitive, Affective, Cultural, Social, etc. Neuroscience). That allows Spatiotemporal Neuroscience to take into view the so-called ‘spatio-temporality’ of mental features including their non-causal, intrinsic and transformative relationship with neuronal features. In conclusion, Spatiotemporal Neuroscience opens the door to investigate and ultimately reveal the brain's own temporo-spatial dynamics as the hitherto missing “common currency” of neuronal and mental features.

National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-388811 (URN)10.1016/j.plrev.2019.05.002 (DOI)31221604 (PubMedID)
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 785907
Available from: 2019-07-05 Created: 2019-07-05 Last updated: 2019-08-15Bibliographically approved
Salles, A., Evers, K. & Farisco, M. (2019). Neuroethics and Philosophy in Responsible Research and Innovation: The Case of the Human Brain Project. Neuroethics, 12(2), 201-211
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neuroethics and Philosophy in Responsible Research and Innovation: The Case of the Human Brain Project
2019 (English)In: Neuroethics, ISSN 1874-5490, E-ISSN 1874-5504, Vol. 12, no 2, p. 201-211Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is an important ethical, legal, and political theme for the European Commission. Although variously defined, it is generally understood as an interactive process that engages social actors, researchers, and innovators who must be mutually responsive and work towards the ethical permissibility of the relevant research and its products. The framework of RRI calls for contextually addressing not just research and innovation impact but also the background research process, specially the societal visions underlying it and the norms and priorities that shape scientific agendas. This requires the integration of anticipatory, inclusive, and responsive dimensions, and the nurturing of a certain type of reflexivity among a variety of stakeholders, from scientists to funders. In this paper, we do not address potential limitations but focus on the potential contribution of philosophical reflection to RRI in the context of the Ethics and Society subproject of the Human Brain Project (HBP). We show how the type of conceptual analysis provided by philosophically oriented approaches theoretically and ethically broadens research and innovation within the HBP. We further suggest that overt inclusion of philosophical reflection can promote the aims and objectives of RRI.

Keywords
RRI, Human Identity, Consciousness, Poverty, Brain, Neuroethics, Reflexivity, Conceptual analysis
National Category
Ethics Philosophy Medical Ethics
Research subject
Bioethics; Neuroscience
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-354023 (URN)10.1007/s12152-018-9372-9 (DOI)000478000000006 ()
Projects
Human Brain Project
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 720270 (HBP SGA1)EU, Horizon 2020, 785907 (HBP SGA2)
Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-18 Last updated: 2019-09-26Bibliographically approved
Salles, A., Bjaalie, J., Evers, K., Farisco, M., Fothergill, T., Guerrero, M., . . . Amunts, K. (2019). The Human Brain Project: Responsible Brain Research for the Benefit of Society. Neuron, 101(3), 380-384
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Human Brain Project: Responsible Brain Research for the Benefit of Society
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2019 (English)In: Neuron, ISSN 0896-6273, E-ISSN 1097-4199, Vol. 101, no 3, p. 380-384Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Keywords
neuroethics, brain research, consciousness, dual use
National Category
Neurosciences
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-376703 (URN)DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2019.01.005 (DOI)000457856700010 ()30731062 (PubMedID)
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 785907
Available from: 2019-02-08 Created: 2019-02-08 Last updated: 2019-02-28Bibliographically approved
Salles, A., Evers, K. & Farisco, M. (2019). The Need for a Conceptual Expansion of Neuroethics [Letter to the editor]. AJOB Neuroscience, 10(3), 126-128
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Need for a Conceptual Expansion of Neuroethics
2019 (English)In: AJOB Neuroscience, ISSN 2150-7740, E-ISSN 2150-7759, Vol. 10, no 3, p. 126-128Article in journal, Letter (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In “Neuroethics at 15: The Current and Future Environment for Neuroethics” the Emerging Issues Task Force of the INS provides an overview of the current and future topics for neuroethics and the foreseeable challenges that the field will face. The authors note that these challenges, emerging both at individual, societal, and often global levels, are importantly connected to increasing knowledge of the brain and neurotechnical capabilities, to increasing awareness of value diversity and of the need to attend to a global landscape, and to novel applications (commercial, military, governmental) of neuroscientific findings. The overarching theme, the authors note, is expansion. In this commentary we focus on the fourth needed expansion: an expansion in how neuroethics and its methodologies are conceived and how neuroethical issues should be approached. Accordingly, we explore the key role that  conceptual analysis plays in normative discussions, in refining our empirical knowledge, and in fostering a clearer and more reliable vision on how to respond the many philosophical issues raised by neuroscientific knowledge and neurotechnologies

National Category
Ethics Neurosciences
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-389755 (URN)10.1080/21507740.2019.1632972 (DOI)
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, SGA785907
Available from: 2019-07-23 Created: 2019-07-23 Last updated: 2019-08-16Bibliographically approved
Farisco, M., Evers, K. & Changeux, J.-P. (2018). Drug addiction: from neuroscience to ethics. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, Article ID 595.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Drug addiction: from neuroscience to ethics
2018 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychiatry, ISSN 1664-0640, E-ISSN 1664-0640, Vol. 9, article id 595Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present paper we suggest a potential new ethical analysis of addiction focusing on the relationship between aware and unaware processings in the brain, i.e. on what is consciously and what is non-consciously perceived by the individual. We take the case of the opioids epidemics to argue that a consideration of both aware and unaware processings provides a more comprehensive ethical framework to discuss the ethical issues raised by addiction.Finally, our hypothesis is that in addition to identified Central Nervous System’s neuronal/neurochemical factors contributing to addictive dynamics, the socio-economic status, i.e. the individual background, plays a causal role through epigenetic processes, originating the need for additional reward in the brain. This provides a strong base for a socio-political form of responsibility for preventing and managing addiction crisis.

Keywords
Addiction, Ethics of addiction, Unaware processing, Opioids Epidemics, Drugs addiction
National Category
Psychiatry Ethics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-364429 (URN)10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00595 (DOI)000450456300001 ()30524319 (PubMedID)
Projects
Human Brain Project
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 785907
Available from: 2018-10-26 Created: 2018-10-26 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically approved
Renzi, C., Provencal, N., Bassil, K. C., Evers, K., Kihlbom, U., Radford, E. J., . . . Rutten, B. P. (2018). From Epigenetic Associations to Biological and Psychosocial Explanations in Mental Health.. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, 158, 299-323
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Epigenetic Associations to Biological and Psychosocial Explanations in Mental Health.
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2018 (English)In: Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, ISSN 1877-1173, E-ISSN 1878-0814, Vol. 158, p. 299-323Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The development of mental disorders constitutes a complex phenomenon driven by unique social, psychological and biological factors such as genetics and epigenetics, throughout an individual's life course. Both environmental and genetic factors have an impact on mental health phenotypes and act simultaneously to induce changes in brain and behavior. Here, we describe and critically evaluate the current literature on gene-environment interactions and epigenetics on mental health by highlighting recent human and animal studies. We furthermore review some of the main ethical and social implications concerning gene-environment interactions and epigenetics and provide explanations and suggestions on how to move from statistical and epigenetic associations to biological and psychological explanations within a multi-disciplinary and integrative approach of understanding mental health.

Keywords
Brain development, Environment, Epidemiology, Epigenetics, Genetics, Gene–environment interactions, Mental disorders, Mental health, Neuronal epigenesis
National Category
Medical Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-372312 (URN)10.1016/bs.pmbts.2018.04.011 (DOI)000452377300013 ()30072059 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2019-01-07 Created: 2019-01-07 Last updated: 2019-01-17Bibliographically approved
Farisco, M., Hellgren Kotaleski, J. & Evers, K. (2018). Large-scale brain simulation and disorders of consciousness: Mapping technical and conceptual issues. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article ID 585.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Large-scale brain simulation and disorders of consciousness: Mapping technical and conceptual issues
2018 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 9, article id 585Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Modelling and simulations have gained a leading position in contemporary attempts to describe, explain, and quantitatively predict the human brain's operations. Computer models are highly sophisticated tools developed to achieve an integrated knowledge of the brain with the aim of overcoming the actual fragmentation resulting from different neuroscientific approaches. In this paper we investigate plausibility of simulation technologies for emulation of consciousness and the potential clinical impact of large-scale brain simulation on the assessment and care of disorders of consciousness (DOCs), e.g. Coma, Vegetative State/Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome, Minimally Conscious State.Notwithstanding their technical limitations, we suggest that simulation technologies may offer new solutions to old practical problems, particularly in clinical contexts. We take DOCs as an illustrative case, arguing that the simulation of neural correlates of consciousness is potentially useful for improving treatments of patients with DOCs.

Keywords
Consciousness, Consciousness Disorders, brain modeling, Neuroethics, brain simulation
National Category
Computer Systems Ethics Philosophy Neurology Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Research subject
Neuroscience; Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-347782 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00585 (DOI)000430833800001 ()29740372 (PubMedID)
Projects
The human brain project
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 720270
Available from: 2018-04-06 Created: 2018-04-06 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically approved
Farisco, M., Salles, A. & Evers, K. (2018). Neuroethics: A Conceptual Approach. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 27(4), 717-727
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neuroethics: A Conceptual Approach
2018 (English)In: Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, ISSN 0963-1801, E-ISSN 1469-2147, Vol. 27, no 4, p. 717-727Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, we begin by identifying three main neuroethical approaches: neurobioethics, empirical neuroethics, and conceptual neuroethics. Our focus is on conceptual approaches that generally emphasize the need to develop and use a methodological modus operandi for effectively linking scientific (i.e., neuroscience) and philosophical (i.e., ethics) interpretations. We explain and assess the value of conceptual neuroethics approaches and explain and defend one such approach that we propose as being particularly fruitful for addressing the various issues raised by neuroscience: fundamental neuroethics.

Keywords
neuroethics, ethics, philosophy, neuroscience
National Category
Ethics Philosophy Neurology
Research subject
Ethics; Bioethics; Neuroscience; Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-360367 (URN)10.1017/S0963180118000208 (DOI)000457483600018 ()30198472 (PubMedID)
Projects
The human brain project
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 720270
Available from: 2018-09-12 Created: 2018-09-12 Last updated: 2019-03-18Bibliographically approved
Lipina, S. & Evers, K. (2017). Neuroscience of Childhood Poverty: Evidence of Impacts and Mechanisms as Vehicles of Dialog With Ethics. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, Article ID 61.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neuroscience of Childhood Poverty: Evidence of Impacts and Mechanisms as Vehicles of Dialog With Ethics
2017 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 8, article id 61Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several studies have identified associations between poverty and development of self-regulation during childhood, which is broadly defined as those skills involved in cognitive, emotional, and stress self-regulation. These skills are influenced by different individual and contextual factors at multiple levels of analysis (i.e., individual, family, social, and cultural). Available evidence suggests that the influences of those biological, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors on emotional and cognitive development can vary according to the type, number, accumulation of risks, and co-occurrence of adverse circumstances that are related to poverty, the time in which these factors exert their influences, and the individual susceptibility to them. Complementary, during the past three decades, several experimental interventions that were aimed at optimizing development of self-regulation of children who live in poverty have been designed, implemented, and evaluated. Their results suggest that it is possible to optimize different aspects of cognitive performance and that it would be possible to transfer some aspects of these gains to other cognitive domains and academic achievement.We suggest that it is an important task for ethics, notably but not exclusively neuroethics, to engage in this interdisciplinary research domain to contribute analyses of key concepts, arguments, and interpretations. The specific evidence that neuroscience brings to the analyses of poverty and its implications needs to be spelled out in detail and clarified conceptually, notably in terms of causes of and attitudes toward poverty, implications of poverty for brain development, and for the possibilities to reduce and reverse these effects.

Keywords
interdisciplinarity, childhood poverty, neuroscience, neuroethics, ethics
National Category
Psychology Neurosciences
Research subject
Neuroscience
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-334209 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00061 (DOI)000392640500001 ()28184204 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2017-11-21 Created: 2017-11-21 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
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