The Cogitate Connectivity Data Challenge


Oscar Ferrante & Ole Jensen, Centre for Human Brain Health, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Ling Liu & Huan Luo, Peking University, China

Liad Mudrik, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Lucia Melloni, Tanya Brown & Praveen Sripad, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Germany

Cogitate Consortium (

Competition description:

The Cogitate adversarial collaboration aims to test contrasting predictions of two neuroscientific theories of consciousness: Global Neuronal Workspace Theory (GNWT) and Integrated Information Theory (IIT). One of these predictions pertains to the interareal connectivity in conscious experience. GNWT predicts gamma/beta band synchronization between prefrontal cortex and category-selective visual areas, while IIT predicts synchronization between category-selective areas and low-level visual areas.

Neuroscientific data (fMRI, MEG, EEG, ECoG) were acquired from healthy volunteers and epilepsy patients viewing suprathreshold images of different categories (faces, objects, letters, and false fonts) for varying durations (for more details, see Melloni et al. (2023) and Cogitate et al. (2023)).

The Cogitate Connectivity Challenge will focus on the ~100 MEG datasets collected at the University of Birmingham and Peking University using the TRIUX MEGIN system. So far, the Cogitate consortium has not been successful in establishing evidence for functional connectivity in MEG as initially hypothesized, highlighting the more general question on whether gamma/beta band coherence is the ideal measure for establishing connectivity in task-based MEG data.

The specific aims and criteria are therefore:

  • Make a case for meaningful measures of functional connectivity that can be applied to the MEG dataset to test the predictions. Any measure is allowed (including phase coherence in the gamma/beta band).
  • Provide a statistical assessment of the connectivity results found with the adopted measures.
  • Interpret the outcomes of the functional connectivity measures considering the specific predictions made by GNWT and IIT.
  • Make explicit how concerns on reliability were addressed (e.g., developing measures on one part of the data and test on the second part).
  • Address potential concerns complicating the interpretation (e.g., field spread and event-related fields).

Data access:

Data will be releases in two phases: the initial ~50 participants will be made available starting on 31 January 2024, and the complete dataset will be released on 30 June 2024.

More details on data access will be shared after registration.


Teams can register to participate by completing the form at

The deadline for first submission is 14 June 2024. We expect a 4-page report supplemented by figures and codes based on the first half of the participant data addressing all the points outlined above.

The deadline for second submission is 15 July 2024. The aim is for the teams to replicate their findings on the second half of the data.


The data will be evaluated by a board from the Cogitate Consortium.

More information on the evaluation criteria can be found at


The prize money will be donated by the Cogitate consortium.

  • 1st prize: $1000
  • 2nd prize: $500
  • 3rd prize: $250


Cogitate Consortium, et al (2023) An adversarial collaboration to critically evaluate theories of consciousness (2023) bioRxiv 2023.06.23.546249; doi:

Melloni L, Mudrik L, Pitts M, et al. (2023) An adversarial collaboration protocol for testing contrasting predictions of global neuronal workspace and integrated information theory. PLoS One 18(2):e0268577. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268577.