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Making society where children can live happily through research on the development of consciousness!

Ryoichi Watanabe

京都大学_、2nd grade of Ph.D. Student

Challenge period

2021-09-01 - 2022-08-31

Final progress report

Sun, 28 Aug 2022 22:38:48 +0900

Progresses

102 times

Supporters

48 people

Elapsed time

Wed, 01 Sep 2021 10:00:00 +0900

Profile

Ryoichi Watanabe

Hi, my name is Ryoichi Watanabe. I am a doctoral student at Kyoto University, studying the development of consciousness. Ever since I was a child, I have been thinking about subjective questions such as "what is I/me", "what is to live" and "what is the world". As I have grown older and gained more experience, my conscious experiences, ideas, and hypotheses about these questions have changed. I became fascinated by the development of consciousness and began to research it. Outside of my research, I have worked as a teacher and tutor for children, and have experienced that each child has a unique experience of consciousness. I would like to share with you the world that children see and feel. I would appreciate your support!

What do you want to achieve through your research?

What I want to achieve through my research is to make society a better place for children to live. To achieve this, I am trying to clarify the development of consciousness and the neural mechanism that gives rise to consciousness. Consciousness refers to subjective feelings and their content. Existing studies of consciousness have been carried out mainly on adults. The results of those studies suggest that consciousness is related to "cognitive functions" such as attention and memory, and to "brain structures and brain networks" such as the frontal lobe, which is related to cognitive functions, and the occipital lobe, which is related to perception. However, the development of consciousness and the neural mechanisms of consciousness is not clear. Cognitive functions, brain structures and brain networks change significantly during the development of a baby to an adult. Consciousness may also change as a result of these changes. In fact, childhood amnesia, imaginary companion, and other strange experiences of consciousness, especially in the early years of childhood (e.g., 3-6 years), are different from those of adults. By sharing this knowledge of children's consciousness, we hope to gain a correct understanding of children's behavior and mind, and reduce the number of children being unreasonably angry and hurt by adults' misunderstanding or lack of knowledge.

What kind of process are you trying to achieve?

I aim to elucidate the development of consciousness and neural mechanisms of consciousness by using a combination of laboratory and online psychological experiments and neural activity measurements in 3-12-year-old children and adults. Our research focuses on visual consciousness, which has been well studied in adults. We use backward masking and other methods to create conditions in which stimuli are subjectively visible and invisible. We use the performance on the stimulus discrimination task (what was seen) as objective measures, subjective reports of visibility (from not seen to clearly seen) and confidence rating (confidence in response) as subjective measures, and the date of EEG and fNIRS as neural measures to clarify how the three measures and the relationship between the three measures develop. In addition, we would like to clarify the developmental changes in how consciousness arises and the amount of information in consciousness by using various visual stimuli such as geometric shapes, colors, animals, vehicles, and landscapes. By extending our findings on the development of visual consciousness to other senses and examining its relationship to self-consciousness, we will try to comprehensively understand the development of consciousness.

What research topics are you currently working on?

I am currently working on two different research projects as the first step in my aim: firstly, I am investigating the development of visual consciousness and neural mechanisms in geometric shapes (e.g. □ and ◇) and categorization (e.g. whether an image is an animal or a vehicle) in children aged 5-12 years and adults using subjective, objective and neural measures. How short a time (1/100th to 1/10th of a second!) ) can participants see subjectively (subjective measure) and whether they can judge what it is (objective measure), using computer experiments and coding their brain activity. Secondly, we are investigating the development of the richness and clarity of momentary visual experiences in children aged 5-12 years and adults. In this study, participants judge whether the image patch was present or absent in the target images with high or low confidence online.

Why we need your support

The study of the development of consciousness is a new field with little or no precedent, and we need to share this knowledge not only with the researchers but also with society in general. We also believe that this research project will help adults to become more interested in children's consciousness, so that children will be less misunderstood, and we will be closer to a society where children can live comfortably. To achieve this, I am challenging crowdfunding as I believe it is essential to share not only the findings of my research on the development of consciousness but also my beliefs and the manner in which I conduct my research seriously. Moreover, I worked part-time to pay for my graduate school tuition and living expenses, as well as research expenses such as books, electronic equipment, and conference membership fees, and for the first six months of my doctoral course, I was unable to find time for research. I also need funds for my EEG research and international conference presentations, which I am starting now. Also, I cannot afford to repay the scholarships I borrowed for my undergraduate and master's degrees, nor can I afford to pay my national insurance. I am sure there are other graduate students and young researchers who are suffering from the same situation. As a new way of life in research, I am challenging crowdfunding.

Project timeline

Date Plans
Sep.2021 Submission of a registered report about the development of the information capacity of consciousness
Nov.2021 Submission of a paper about the development of the subjective and objective measures of consciousness
Jan.2022 Collection of pilot data about the development of EEG related to consciousness
Jan.2022 Presentation of a study about the development of consciousness at BCCCD
Feb.2022 Collection of main data about the development of the information capacity of consciousness
Feb.2022 Collection of pilot data about the development of consciousness of color
Mar.2022 Collection of pilot data about the development of consciousness with the level of processing
Apr.2022 Presentation of a study about the development of consciousness at CoRN
May.2022 Submission of a registered report about the development of EEG related to consciousnes
May.2022 Collection of pilot data about the development of EEG related to consciousness with the level of processing
Jun.2022 Submission of a paper about the development of the information capacity of consciousness
Jun.2022 Submission of a registered report about the development of consciousness of color
Jun.2022 Presentation of a study about the development of consciousness at ASSC
Jun.2022 Presentation of a study about the development of consciousness at the Japanese Society of Baby Science Conference
Jul.2022 Submission of a registered report about the development of consciousness with the level of processing
Jul.2022 Presentation of a study about the development of consciousness at the Japanese Society of Neural Science Conference
Aug.2022 Collection of pilot data about the development of contents of consciousness

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