Open meeting in Forum for Consciousness Research and The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters,
Monday, 22 January, 2018, 18:00:
Place: The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Drammensveien 78, Oslo
Time: Monday 22 January, 2018, 18:00 – 20.15
18.00- 18.10: Welcome and introduction by Johan F. Storm, Neurophysiology, University of Oslo
18.10 – 18.30: Introduction by Björn Merker
18.30 – 19.00: Panel discussion I and questions from the audience
Panel: Björn Merker, Kenneth Hugdahl (Univ.of Bergen), Sebastian Watzl (Philosophy, UiO), J.F. Storm (UiO).
19.00 – 19.15: Coffee break
19.15 – 20.15: Panel discussion II and questions from the audience
Björn Merker, born 1943, is a neuroscientist and independent interdisciplinary scholar who is knownfor his work on behavior and apparent consciousness in children that are born without almost any cerebral cortex (hydranencephaly; Merker, 2007), and his ideas about possible subcortical origin of consciousness (Merker, 2013).
Merker studied psychology and brain science in the U.S., receiving a B.A. in psychology at Queens College of the City University of New York (1975), and a PhD in psychology and brain science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 for work on midbrain orienting mechanisms. He then worked on oculomotor physiology in cats at UCLA and on the primary visual cortex of macaques at New York University. An interest in comparative behavioral biology led him to study song development and mirror self-recognition in gibbons, and eventually to research on the biological roots and evolutionary background of human music and language. With Nils Wallin and Steven Brown he edited the interdisciplinary volume The Origins of Music. In retirement, he continues active work on theoretical topics that include the analysis of brain macrosystems and their interaction, countercurrent modelling of cortical memory, the subcortical foundations of brain mechanisms of attention and consciousness, and the biological background to human music and language.