EXPERIENCE is an ERC Advanced Grant research project (2022) led by Axel Cleeremans (Research Centre in Cognition and Neurosciences, Faculty of Psychology and Education, ULB Neuroscience Institute)


The EXPERIENCE project will attempt to attribute a function to phenomenal consciousness.

The EXPERIENCE project takes as its starting point a question: why would we do anything if doing it didn't do anything for us? In other words, if we felt nothing, if we were zombies, what would we base our decisions on? Today, the subjective experience that we have of the world is often considered as epiphenomenal or illusory: as "the effect that it has on us" can always be reduced to the activity of our neurons, it is not clear what the purpose of the phenomenal experience itself is.

The project attacks this philosophical position and proposes that the function of subjective experience is to give value to everything we do. This implies that all subjective perception is necessarily valenced, that processing valence is impossible outside of consciousness, and that motivation crucially depends on how we consciously feel.

To test these hypotheses, the EXPERIENCE project will involve an interdisciplinary team rooted in both the philosophy of mind and computational cognitive neurosciences.

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, grant agreement No. GA 101055060

Created on May 5, 2022