Harry’s New York Bar

I recently visited Paris to attend the annual conference in Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness to present some of our results where we show that consciousness and short-term memory can be empirically dissociated from each other. However, in the evening after the conference and various meetings, I visited a number of nice restaurants and cocktail bars.

Going to Paris I think one of the most iconic places to visit is Harry’s New York Bar located close to the Opera at 5 Rue Daunou, and also conveniently close to the RoissyBus stop near the Opera if you are traveling through the Charles de Gaulle airport – which makes it an ideal location to spend some time waiting for your departure time.

The atmosphere of the bar instantly sweeps you back in a time pocket isolated from the surrounding world since the beginning of Harry’s bar in 1911. Bartenders still wear the classy white uniform and the only hint that one has not journeyed back in time is from the different historical memorabilia decorating the old establishment. Additionally, a number of now classical coctails like the White Lady (1919), the Bloody Mary (1921), and the Side-Car (1922?) have emerged from the bar over the ages.

Whether, you are just arriving to Paris, or you are about to leave I think a visit to Harry’s bar is almost mandatory. Ordering a traditional daiquiri and a hotdog from the bar is bar non the best way to prepare for the flight out of Paris.

Notes from a foodie

In 2011 I visited Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra to participate in what turned out to be a very nice course on academic leadership and university governance. Here I meet some excellent people, loads of weird animals, and a very interesting food scene with east asien influence. Not many days after my arrival I encountered the term foodie for the first time – as I have keen a non-research related interest in good food and drinks. Since then I my travels takes me to a number of different places where I enjoy discovering different restaurants and cool places to hang out. So I am not a professional critique, but over the years I have grown confident that my recommendations are worthwhile, so perhaps you the reader, will enjoy some of my favourite places around the world as well. I plan to group the different posts with tags for the city and the type of foodie related experience for easy access.

I could also have started this journey in my home city of Copenhagen where I at some point was encouraged to research in the elusive qualia, but as my research have yet to move into this area Canberra will be my starting point, and the best lunch restaurant near campus has to be the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe, at 35 Childers Street. The place looks like any other Chinese restaurant, but it serves up great soup dumplings, and perhaps I am biased in the sense that I rarely find places that serve good dumplings in Europe where Chinese cuisine often is as far from home in distance as it is in content. However, the dumplings at the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe actually takes me back to 2010 where I tasted some amazing soup dumplings in the old city of center of Shanghai. Often the steamed dumpling can have a slightly bland taste which is why I think many prefer the fried variations, but stock inside the dough before steaming is really a stroke of genius.

So if you are visiting ANU consider having lunch or dinner at the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe.

Hearts & Minds

Thanks to everyone who attended my lecture on The Brain, Vision, and Synesthesia at the Hearts & Minds festival this friday at Aarhus University. It was great talking about the brain and some of our research on synesthesia to all of you and I hope you had a great evening at Folkeuinversitetet.

I mentioned some links to some of you, and thought I would post the links here for your convenience. The first is the link to one of my colleagues from Russia who is gathering data on the dress phenomenon. You can participate in his questionnaire here: http://chetvericov.ru/tests/thedress/quiz.html

Secondly, you can find our synesthesia project on the following webpage: https://synesthesiaproject.wordpress.com/

Components of Attention in Grapheme-Color Synesthesia: A Modeling Approach

Thomas Alrik Sørensen:

The first of our studies on synaesthesia is now available online for free.

Originally posted on ITVA:

A recent study published online in PLoS ONE by Ásgeirsson et al. (2015) use TVA to analyse what attentional components are modulated by stimulus congruency in colour-grapheme synaesthesia. The authors report that processing speed is affected by stimulus congruency. Surprisingly, several TVA parameters such as the threshold for visual perception as well as attentional selectivity remain un affected by a manipulation of congruency. The authors argue that as well as yielding a more detailed understanding of how synaesthesia interact with cognitive components like attention.

The study is freely available online at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0134456

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Components of Attention Modulated by Temporal Expectation

Originally posted on ITVA:

In a new study published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Sørensen et al. (2014) investigate the effects of temporal expectation and how it modulate attentional TVA parameters. They demonstrate that the temporal expectancy paradigm modulate visual short-term memory, possibly through a phasic modulation of observer arousal akin to a hypothesis proposed by Easterbrook (1959). Sørensen et al. also present a novel analysis using the standard deviation of the attentional weights as a measure of how evenly an observer distribute their attentional resources. Hereby, it is possible to measure the scope of attentional focus in addition to the traditional TVA parameters.

Article available for download via APA on PsycNET

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CCN moves to a new location on the Aalborg campus

During the summer Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) will move to Kroghstræde 6 along with the new facilities for behavioural studies at Aalborg University: Experimental Psychology Laboratory. Here there will be four rooms for controlled behavioural studies including one multi room for larger setups, and training of students in experimental and behavioural methods in psychology. 

The new lab will ensure that students on the neuropsychology program (along with BA students who have a special interest in behavioural neuroscience) can participate in ongoing research projects at CCN. Students will also be able to suggest individual projects within topics such as memory, attention, perception, and consciousness. Here we will be able to provide individual supervision and training for a number of projects each semester independent of the scheduled classes.


The Disappearing Hand

The first prize at the 8th Annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest at VSS in 2012 went to a demonstration by Roger Newport, Helen Gilpin and Catherine Preston called the disappearing hand trick.

This demonstration made me think of some beautiful experiments conducted in Copenhagen by Torsten Ingemann Nielsen in 1963 called the alien hand experiment. Here an observer also lets visual input override proprioceptive information, as an experimentor through the use of mirrors manipulate the visual feedback of the observer (see fig 1 in Gallagher & Sørensen 2006).


Nielsen, T. I. (1963). Volition: A new experimental approach. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 4, 225–230.

Gallagher, S. & Sørensen, J. B. (2006). Experimenting with phenomenology. Consciousness and Cognition, 15, 119–134.