This is not a poster

So instead of getting a talk at this year's ASSC meeting in Paris, I got a poster. I felt a bit miffed about it but quickly came to the conclusion that it was OK. I had hacked my abstract a bit too quickly and have been giving talks every year for over a decade at this meeting. So, a poster...


  1. Trouble is, posters are über-hard to design properly and I am a design nazi. I had no time but I had a ready talk. So a somewhat goofy and devious idea germinated in my mind: I'd make a pirate, off-program talk in the hallways of the meeting venue, hacking the logistics on the way. The poster would simply be an invitation to attend the talk.
  2. 70 people signed up on the poster, and thus it was a go!
  3. Managed to fire off an email to about 50 people whose address I could decipher during the night...
  4. ... and tweeted about it shortly before the talk, disclosing the location where I'd deliver the pirate talk.
  5. ... even though the meeting organizer, my good friend Sid Kouider, was not too hot about the idea...
  6. And so at 12:15 I began my planned 10m guerilla talk, projecting on the ceiling of a hallway on the first floor of the Centre des Saints-Pères at Université René Descartes in Paris where ASSC19 was taking place. About 60 people showed up. I got a few puzzled looks from the local occupants of the building, but other than that all was cool.
  7. Then @neuroconscience started tweeting about it gonzo style.
  8. Ten minutes into the presentation I noticed two of the main organizers of the meeting (my good friends & colleagues Sid Kouider and Catherine Tallon-Baudry) walking towards me together with a couple of student helpers and an iphone blasting police siren sounds. The four of them actually seized me and dragged me away, interrupting the talk. This was a complete surprise and I was a bit unsure how far they'd take it. Even though it was clear this was all pretend play, they had managed to turn the joke on me!
  9. Fortunately I was quickly released and allowed to finish my rogue presentation about consciousness, associative learning, and the "Perruchet effect", discovered by Pierre Perruchet, who, ironically, was affiliated with the very same Université René Descartes in 1985. The Perruchet effect is actually a very interesting and singular phenomenon where people's behaviour in response to an event is completely opposite to what they consciously had just indicated expected would happen.
  10. We concluded with a small guerilla cocktail and broke off for lunch ...
  11. ... and further thanks to my logistics team Julie Bertels (printing) Bert Windey (hardware), Martijn Wokke and Dalila Achoui (catering), who managed to surreptitiously secure and install a beamer, a power cord, tables, wine, glasses and a corkscrew.
  12. [Also, apologies to my co-authors Arnaud Destrebecqz, Julie Bertels, Esti San Anton & Michael Vandevelde for turning them into unwitting co-conspirators.]