Paul Verschure

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

Engineering Sciences

Dr. Paul Verschure (1962) is an ICREA Research Prof. and director of the Center of Autonomous Systems and Neurorobotics at Univ. Pompeu Fabra where he runs the Laboratory of Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS). He received both his MA and PhD in Psychology and pursued his research at different leading institutes: the Neurosciences Institute and The Salk Institute, both in San Diego, the Univ. of Amsterdam, Univ. of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-ETH and currently with ICREA and Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Paul's research group comprises a multidisciplinary team of 25 doctoral and post-doctoral researchers including psychologists, engineers and biologists. He is a consultant for the European Commission regarding the integration of Neuroinformatics in the 5th-6th & 7th FP, Horizon 2020 and a referee for Science, Nature, Royal Society London, Trends in Neuroscience, IEEE neural networks, PLoS Computational Biology and PLoS ONE.

Research interests

His scientific aim is to find a unified theory of mind, brain and body through the use of synthetic methods and to apply such a theory to the development of novel technologies and quality of life enhancing applications. Paul’s research group on Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems ( comprises a multidisciplinary team of about 25 doctoral and post-doctoral researchers that include physicists, psychologists, engineers and biologists. Paul has organized SPECS along three dimensions: 1) computational models of neuronal mechanisms underlying perception, cognition, emotion and behavior, including: the cerebellum and motor learning, the hippocampus, ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex in decision making and the amygdala and cortex in emotional learning. 2) robotics and avatars as artificial bodies for neuronal models. 3) the application of the technologies developed in 2) combined with the theories from 1) to the enhancement of the quality of life.

Selected publications

Verschure PF 2016, ‘Synthetic consciousness: the distributed adaptive control perspective’, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B371(1701), 20150448.

– Arsiwalla XD & Verschure PF 2016, ‘Computing Information Integration in Brain Networks’, In International Conference and School on Network Science (pp. 136-146). Springer International Publishing.

– Van Wijngaarden JB, Zucca R, Finnigan S & Verschure PF 2016, ‘The impact of cortical lesions on thalamo-cortical network dynamics after acute ischaemic stroke: a combined experimental and theoretical study’, PLoS Comput Biol., 12(8), e1005048.

– Ballester BR, Maier M, Mozo RMSS, Castañeda V, Duff A & Verschure PF 2016, ‘Counteracting learned non-use in chronic stroke patients with reinforcement-induced movement therapy’, Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 13(1), 74.

– Betella A & Verschure PF 2016, ‘The Affective Slider: A Digital Self-Assessment Scale for the Measurement of Human Emotions’, PloS one, 11(2), e0148037.

– Moulin-Frier C & Verschure PFMJ 2016, ‘Two possible driving forces supporting the evolution of animal communication Comment on “Towards a Computational Comparative Neuroprimatology: Framing the language-ready brain” by Michael A. Arbib’, Physics Of Life Reviews, 16, 88 – 90.