Axel Cleeremans is a Research Director with the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS) and a professor of Cognitive Psychology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where he heads the Consciousness, Cognition and Computation (CO3) Group and the Center for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences.
His research is essentially dedicated to the differences between information processing with and without consciousness, particularly in the domain of learning and memory, and more recently in the domains of perception, social cognition, decision-making, and cognitive control. Cleeremans has acted as president of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology and is a board member of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. A member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, he is also Field Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Psychology. In 2015, he was awarded the Ernest-John Solvay F.R.S-FNRS prize for human and social sciences.
Cleeremans argues that consciousness is the result of unconscious learning mechanisms through which the brain continuously redescribes to itself its interactions with itself, with the the world and with other people. That is, it is in virtue of the fact that the brain continuously learns about its own internal states that some of these states become available to consciousness. This hypothesis is dubbed the “Radical Plasticity Thesis” and now forms the backbone of a European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant that drives current research at the CO3.
- Implicit learning and statistical learning
- Conditioning and associative learning
- Visual awareness
- Expectancy, placebo, suggestion, and hypnosis