• wednesday, 15 march 2023—12:15

    Mind blanking as a frontier case of mental state reportability

    Athena Demertzi, Clinical Sciences Department, Université de Liège

    Spontaneous experience is ongoing, dynamic, and rich in content taking the form of mental states. Mental states are transient cognitive or emotional occurrences that are described in terms of particular content (what the state is ‘about’) and the relation we bear to this content (e.g. imagining, remembering, fearing). Ongoing experience can also show moments of blanks during which there is a failure to report the content of thoughts, often accompanied by a post-hoc realization that our mind “went away”. Here, I will discuss the possibility of a contentless mind as reported in healthy waking conditions and will delineate the brain physiology which underlies such contentless phenomenology. This work essentially proposes that non-reportable mental events can happen during wakefulness, and challenges the view of the mind as a constant thought-oriented operator.

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    external seminar