You will find detailed programme of the Mind and Matter Conference below.

Edit 10 June 2024: Please note that Tuesday's second keynote speaker has changed.
Tuesday, 11 June 2024

9.00–9.45 Registration

9.45–10.45 Keynote talk by Associate Professor Tatsuya Daikoku (University of Tokyo): Embodied Cognition of Music Based on Brain Predictive Processing

Music has profoundly influenced human experiences across cultures and generations, yet its effects on our minds and bodies remain not fully understood. This study explores how the perception of musical chords triggers bodily sensations and emotions through the brain's predictive processing mechanisms. Using body-mapping tests and emotional evaluations on 527 participants exposed to various chord progressions, we uncovered the interaction between musical uncertainty and prediction error in generating specific bodily sensations and emotional responses. Our findings reveal that certain chord progressions evoke cardiac and abdominal sensations linked to interoception (heart and stomach), which are associated with aesthetic appreciation and positive emotional valence. These results imply the critical role of musical uncertainty and prediction error in shaping emotional responses and musical embodiment. This research provides valuable insights into the connection between music-induced interoception and mental well-being, highlighting the profound impact of music on both our minds and bodies. 

10.45–11.00 Coffee break

11.00–12.30 Session 1: Statistical Language Learning: Questions and Mechanisms

Host: Professor Riikka Möttönen, Cognitive Science, Department of Digital Humanities, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki

Presentations: Professor Riikka Möttönen (Head of the research group), Dr. Soila Kuuluvainen (Post-doctoral researcher), Aliva Sholihat (Doctoral researcher, CLIC Doctoral programme), Alex Shapero (Master's student in Changing Education), Emili Segulja (Master's student in Cognitive Science), Evgenia Karantinou (Doctoral researcher, Brain and Mind Doctoral Programme), Adriano Homare (Post-graduate research assistant)

12.30–13.45 Lunch break

13.45–14.45 Keynote talk by Professor Matias Palva (Aalto University): From Mind to Matter: Game-based digital therapeutics for brain diseases

Video games are a form of media that yields high engagement and activates neuronal plasticity. We are developing systems-neuroscience inspired, video-game based, digital therapeutics for major depressive disorder. I will present our ongoing large-scale clinical trial and promising interim results therein. We have earlier developed a game-like visual-acuity-training system for adult amblyopia, which was used in a phase IIa clinical trial testing a putative plasticity-booster and SSRI-antidepressant fluoxetine in improving amblyopia. This trial, however, showed that both the subjects receiving fluoxetine and placebo improved their visual acuity equally, which suggests that the reopening critical-period-like plasticity in adult visual system was achieved by the game-like training software. This provides evidence for that even in the lowest levels of cortical hierarchy, with the least capacity for plasticity in adults, games have the potential to activate this plasticity and achieve functionally significant changes in neuronal circuitry. "Mental" experiences can thus be translated into functional improvements in brain "matter", in a manner that can be harnessed into novel therapeutic devices.

Reference: Huttunen, Palva, et al. (2018) Fluoxetine does not enhance the effect of perceptual learning on visual function in adults with amblyopia. Sci Rep 8(1):12830. 

14.45–15.00 Coffee break

15.00–16.30 Session 2: Philosophical Reflections 1

Host: University Researcher Alexander Carruth, Theoretical Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki

Presentations: University Researcher Alexander Carruth, Paavo Pylkkänen (University lecturer), Kristjan Loorits (Visiting scholar), Santtu Heikkinen (Doctoral researcher)

16.30–18.00 Poster Session

Wednesday, 12 June 2024

9.00–9.30 Registration

9.30–10.30 Keynote talk by Associate Professor Jonathan Shock (University of Cape Town): Active Inference, Generative Models and the Embedding Space of Ideas

Active Inference provides a beautiful, integrated framework for understanding perception and action. It requires a generative model which is an agent's model of how the outside world works as well as how the outside world is affected by and affects the motor and sensory states respectively. On a completely different track, LLM's seem to build up an incredibly rich understanding of the world from remarkably limited resources. In this talk I will talk about the active inference framework, and speculate (wildly) on how we might be able to integrate the embedding spaces from LLMs as an aspect of the generative model of a highly complex active inference agent. 

10.30–10.45 Coffee break

10.45–12.15 Session 3: Philosophical Reflections 2

Host: Professor Valtteri Arstila, Theoretical Philosophy, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Turku 

Presentations: Professor Valtteri Arstila, Pii Telakivi (Postdoctoral researcher, University of Turku and University of Helsinki), Heidi Haanila (Postdoctoral researcher, University of Turku) 

12.15–13.30 Lunch break

13.30–15.00 Session 4: High Performance Cognition 

Host: Associate Professor Benjamin Cowley, AI in Learning and Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki

Presentations: Associate Professor Benjamin Cowley, Natalia Postnova (Postdoctoral researcher), Lauri Ahonen  (Postdoctoral researcher), Andrei Rodionov  (Postdoctoral researcher), Guang Rong (Doctoral researcher), Evgenii Rudakov (Doctoral researcher)

15.00–15.30 Coffee break

15.30–17.00 Session 5: Sleep and affective processing

Host: Professor Anu-Katriina Pesonen, Experimental Mind and Brain Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki

Presentations: Professor Anu-Katriina Pesonen, Risto Halonen (University lecturer), Emil Hein (Doctoral researcher)