the future of the Brain

Thursday, March 19
, 2009
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15



Waag Society, Nieuwmarkt 4, 1012 CR Amsterdam [Center of the Nieuwmarkt]

The conference language is English.

De Waag Society


For a long period of time brain researchers told us that our brains are not malleable. A person would be the same at 7 and 70. Recent technological developments allowed scientists to have "a closer look" AT the brain. These days, as Einstein's relativity theory peaks IN popularity among ordinary people, researches conclude that the brain is actually malleable. But how do we define this plasticity? How do we change our brains? Does placing electrodes to our heads for brain feedback OFFER a solution to persistent problems such as drug addiction, aggression or obsessions? Present technologies offer a level of happiness that can be achieved through years of meditation. Could this be a solution to the illnesses our societies suffer as A RESULT of wrongs we have committed through a greedy relationship with technology?

Aren't we all sharing an overwhelming feeling that our societies are heading IN a wrong direction? Could using science and technology the "right way" be an answer to our critical questions?
Concept: Iclal Akcay, moderator

Antonino Raffone, PhD, Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience, "Sapienza" University of Rome and RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan
Neural correlates of meditation states and traits

There is an impressive growth of interest in the world about neural correlates of meditation states and traits, as related to cognitive and affective neuroplasticity, as well as psychotherapy and human well-being. This talk will review key-findings in this area, with special reference to research involving long-term Buddhist meditation practitioners. The findings in a recent neuroimaging investigation by dr. Raffone and collaborators, will then presented, and their implications discussed in light of current theories of attention and awareness.

Venerable Kaye Miner, Maitreya Institute Amsterdam
Consciousness at the Crossroads or Mind in Tibetan Buddhism

Mind or consciousness is a particularly elusive phenomenon because it is not perceptible by the senses or even the finest instruments. Therefore mind is considered a hidden or particularly hidden phenomena. Buddhist philosophy has developed an instrument that can show the presence and function of the mind. This is a highly developed, well considered method of reliable reasoning. Using meditation, a method to investigate or research the mind in its own laboratory, valid reasoning is used to develop knowledge of the function and operation of the mind.

Viona Wijnen, PhD, Neuropsychologist and Researcher, Alpha-Up | Brain Balancing Institute, Amsterdam
How the brain can heal itself - The promise of neurofeedback

Viona Wijnen's research interests involve psychosomatic (Mind/Body) medicine, neurophysiological reactivity and brain plasticity. She will discuss the state of the art knowledge on the brain's capabilities to change and adapt constantly as a result of environmental stimuli and demands. Specifically, her focus will be on neurofeedback: a revolutionary neurotherapy that devotes itself to training control over electro-chemical processes in the human brain and that has shown to be efficacious for a wide variety of psychological and psychosomatic diseases.

Rob van Kranenburg, Innovation and Media Theorist

There is a tendency to think that we are going forward, going towards situations yet to be formed and discovered. This is governed by a teleology that is at odds with the way we seem to immerse ourselves in digital connectivity. You’d think we respond intuitively to something lost in the first place; our being grounded while being mobile, our being at
home in various places and locations, our sense of ubiquity, of the ubiquity of signs and modes of experience that seems ever more natural, more human. The swiftness and speed of the communicative response to the digital, what can it be but the sensual recognition of our intrinsic abilities to experience thought and alchemistic (read: growth and change) processes directly and intuitively? So lets imagine that once we had one
brainspace as we have seem to have one world now that we all 'see'.

18:30 - 19:00
Registration & welcome drinks

19:00 - 20:00
Introduction by our Moderator
Iclal Akcay, Research Journalist

Part I:

Antonino Raffone
, PhD, Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience, "Sapienza" University of Rome and RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan
Neural correlates of meditation states and traits

Venerable Kaye Miner, Maitreya Institute Amsterdam
Consciousness at the Crossroads or Mind in Tibetan Buddhism

Viona Wijnen
, PhD, Neuropsychologist and Researcher, Alpha-Up | Brain Balancing Institute, Amsterdam
How the brain can heal itself - The promise of neurofeedback

Rob van Kranenburg, Innovation and Media Theorist


20:00 - 20:30
Coffee break with drinks and snacks.

20:30 - 21:15
Part II: Open discussion

Tickets for this Season Event are

....Regular Ticket: € 30,-
....Discount Ticket: € 20,- [*]
....Student Ticket: € 10,-
As a non-for-profit foundation we don't charge VAT.
[*] see

How to pay for the tickets?

....a) Online booking with credit card: Ticket Corner

....b) By bank: send an email with your details, number of tickets, type of tickets
........and event name to:
........Bank: Fortis Bank, Club of Amsterdam, Account 976399393, Amstelveen,
........The Netherlands, IBAN NL46 FTSB 0976399393, BIC FTSB NL2R

....c) By invoice: send an email with your billing details, number of tickets, type of event name to:

....d) At the registration desk the evening of the event - unless we are sold out
........earlier: 18:30-19:00

Waag Society

Waag Society is the name of what started in 1994 as 'Society for old en new Media', de Waag. Founders were Caroline Nevejan and Marleen Stikker, who is still Waag Society's director. Before, Stikker was the mayor of the Digital City, the first internet community in The Netherlands.

The Society's -soon to be called 'Waag Society' - mission was to make new media available for groups of people that have little access to computers and internet, thus increasing their quality of living. After a complete restauration of the Waag building, a small group of enthousiastic idealists began their activities in 1996.

The medialab developed into an avant-gardistic thinktank with a lot of freedom. But with an eye for commercial possibilities: attempts were made to bring Waag prototypes to the market. Waag Society grew into an institution that was active in the fields of networked art, healthcare, education and internet related issues like bandwidth and copyright.

The international network became increasingly important: Waag Society has a worldwide network with partners in countries like India, Canada and the UK.

Nowadays, Waag Society is an acknowledged institute where apart from R & D, there is room for experiment with new technologies, art and culture. Partners come from all parts of society: universities but also companies work together in our projects.

Antonino Raffone, PhD, Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience, "Sapienza" University of Rome and RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan

Antonino Raffone's research is mainly focused on neural correlates of consciousness, working memory and meditation, with involvement in international collaborations in neuro-cognitive research based on computational modelling, behavioral experiments, electroencephalography and event-related potentials, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, magnetoencephalography. Recently he has worked on neuroimaging of meditation-based awareness in Buddhist monks, in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Biomedical Technologies (ITAB) in Italy. He is co-editor of the special number of Cognitive Processing on "Neuroscience of Meditation and Consciousness", in preparation. On the contemplative side, he is an intensive Buddhist meditation practitioner, waiting for a lay Bodhisattva ordination in the Zen center "L'Arco" in Rome.

Venerable Kaye Miner
Maitreya Institute Amsterdam

Venerable Kaye Miner was born in Australia where she studied Business and Information Systems and worked for several leading Australian companies. In the early 1980’s she began studying Tibetan Buddhism in Australia, India and Nepal, where she also lived for 2 years, taking ordination as a Buddhist nun in 1990. Her teachers include His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Kaye combined the study, practice and teaching of Tibetan Buddhism with working in business until she moved to Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1999. Since then she has been teaching Buddhist philosophy and meditation at Maitreya Institute Amsterdam, where she is the resident teacher, as well as in Groningen, Breda and Delft. Since 2003 is also the director of Maitreya Institute in Emst.

Viona Wijnen
PhD, Neuropsychologist and Researcher
Alpha-Up | Brain Balancing Institute, Amsterdam

Viona Wijnen was involved in research projects within the fields of Psychosomatic Medicine and Neuroscience. During her Master research she investigated the role of personality and stress responses related to the development of essential hypertension.

Her Ph.D-research focused on recovery from coma to consciousness in children and young adults who suffered from severe brain injury. She investigated changes of the nervous system while patients were involved in an early intensive neurorehabilitation programme.

Since September 2008 Viona joined the Alpha Up-team. This Brain Balancing Institute applies a specific form of neurofeedback which involves computer translation of brain waves into sounds that represent optimum patterns for the brain to function at a given location. During repeated sessions the brain learns to use the new neural networks.

Rob van Kranenburg
Innovation and Media Theorist

Rob van Kranenburg (1964) is an innovation and media theorist involved with negociability strategies of new technologies and artistic practice, predominantly ubicomp and rfid (radio frequency identification), the relationship between the formal and informal in cultural and economic
policy, and the requirements for living a dignified life.

Iclal Akcay
Research Journalist

Having worked in Turkey and Germany as a tv reporter and radio editor Iclal Akcay has recently earned an MSc degree in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her master thesis was concentrated on the World Health Organization and the Bird Flu. In researching and elaborating her interests in politics and women's issues she has developed a socio-scientific understanding rooted in a multidisciplinary approach. Currently she is particularly interested in investigating the relationship between various emerging theories and developing technologies based on the plasticity of the brain.

Waag Society
Nieuwmarkt 4
1012 CR Amsterdam
[Center of the Nieuwmarkt]

Public Transport
Metro stop Nieuwmarkt. 1 stop from Centraal Station.

By Car
Ring of Amsterdam (A10), direction Noord, exit S116 direction Noord/Centrum. After IJ-tunnel direction het Muziektheater, or direction Centraal Station.

Parking at het Muziektheater.

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