April 25-30, 2016 - Tucson, ARIZONA   

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort




April 28, 2016

8:30 am to 10:40 am

PL 5 - Conscious Intention and Free Will 


Aaron Schurger

École Polytechnique  Fédérale, Lausanne


Aaron Schurger completed his undergraduate studies in computer science at Indiana University and then worked as a software consultant before going on to earn his PhD in psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University under the guidance of Jonathan D. Cohen and Anne Treisman. After that he joined the research team of Stanislas Dehaene at the NeuroSpin research center as a post-doc, and then as a senior  researcher working with Olaf Blanke and José del R Millán at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He is currently associate professor (“chargé de recherche 1”) with the French National Institute for Health and
Medical Research (INSERM), based at the NeuroSpin research center near Paris. Schurger's research focuses on the neural signatures of subjective experience and the neural antecedents of self-initiated movement, both from a dynamical systems perspective. In 2013 Schurger was awarded the William James Prize (ASSC) and was recently awarded the BMI-Kaloy prize (Kaloy Foundation) for his 2012 work on the influence of spontaneous fluctuations in brain activity on self-initiated movement.

Schurger’s work on conscious perception has focused on how the formation of stable patterns of brain activity might play a role in consolidating and transmitting neural information and might serve as a signature of conscious perception. Schurger uses a variety of techniques in his research including behavioral psychophysics, neuroimaging, computational and neural-network modeling, machine learning, and brain-computer interfaces. In 2014 Schurger was awarded a grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to investigate the mystery of spontaneous voluntary movement : how do decisions-to-act emerge in the brain in the absence of an external imperative?