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Axel Cleeremans

Axel Cleeremans’ research focuses on the differences between information processing with and without consciousness, particularly in the domain of learning and memory, and more recently in the domains of perception, social cognition, and cognitive control. He argues that consciousness is the result of unconscious learning mechanisms through which the brain continuously redescribes its interactions with itself, the world, and other people to itself. This hypothesis, called the “Radical Plasticity Thesis,” proposes that through the brain’s continuous learning about its own internal states, some of these states become available to consciousness, thus suggesting that consciousness is a learned behaviour rather than a static property.


Recipient of the Ernest-John Solvay Prize for Human and Social Sciences, 2015.

Holder of the Francqui Chair at the Université de Liège, 2013.

CHAOS Award, 2011.

Elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, 2010.

Elected member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium, 2009.

Relevant Publications

A. Cleeremans, « Connecting conscious and unconscious cognition », Cognitive science, vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 1286-1315, 2014.

A. Cleeremans, « The Radical Plasticity Thesis: How the brain learns to be conscious », Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 2, pp. 1-12, 2011.

A. Cleeremans, « Computational correlates of consciousness », Prog. Brain Res., vol 150, pp.81-98, 2005.

P. Maquet et coll., « Experience-Dependent Changes in Cerebral Activation During REM Sleep », Nat. Neurosci., vol. 3, no. 8, pp. 831-836, août 2000.

A. Cleeremans et coll., « Implicit learning: News from the front », Trends Cogn. Sci., vol. 2, no. 10, pp. 406-416, octobre 1998.


A. Cleeremans, Mechanisms of Implicit Learning: Connectionist Models of Sequence Processing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993.

T. Bayne et coll., éditeurs, The Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

A. Cleeremans, The Unity of Consciousness: Binding, Integration, and Dissociation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.



Senior Fellow Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness


Université Libre de BruxellesCenter for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences


Agrégation de l’Enseignement Supérieur Université Libre de Bruxelles

PhD (Cognitive Psychology) Carnegie Mellon University

MS (psychologie cognitive) Université Carnegie Mellon

Licence en Sciences Psychologiques et Pédagogiques Université Libre de Bruxelles Dissertation



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