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Barendregt, Henk


Henk Barendregt, born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1947. Ph.D. from Utrecht University. Professor of Foundations of Mathematics and Computer Science, Radboud University Nijmegen.

Distinguished Lorentz Fellow (1 September 2012 - 30 June 2013)

Models of Consciousness and Clinical Implications

Phenomenal consciousness appears to be continuous and unified, while experimental studies and theoretical models suggest that the brain involves discrete transitions and distributed processing. For the appearant continuity and unity temporal and spatial coordination needs to take place in the brain. Impairment of this pivotal coordination might underlie a set of neuronal and psychopathological conditions. At subjective level this impairment seems to result in existential fears or clinical symptoms, as there occurs a loss of the feeling of agency and identity. This is often followed by unwholesome dysfunctional coping reactions in order to avoid this awareness. On the other hand, several recent studies suggest that mindfulness, i.e. non-judgemental attention to present moment experience (meta-awareness), has a salutary influence on such psychopathological effects. Mindfulness seems to be lowering negative reactions to uncoordinated brain mechanisms. How mindfulness achieves this is not understood. The project aims at understanding more of the mentioned mechanisms.

Selected Publications

H.P. Barendregt [1981] The Lambda Calculus, its Syntax and Semantics. Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics, Elsevier. Russian translation, MIR, 1995. Chinese translation, Nanjing University Press, 1993.

H.P. Barendregt [2011] Mindfulness meditation: deconditioning & changing view. Neuroscience, Consciousness, and Spirituality. Eds H. Walach, S. Schmidt & W. B. Jonas. Heidelberg. Springer. 195-206.

H.P. Barendregt & A. Raffone [2012] Conscious cognition as a discrete, deterministic, and universal Turing Machine process. The Selected works of A.M. Turing. Eds B. Cooper and J. van Leeuwen. Elsevier.

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