Jan Lauwereyns (b. 1969) is a poet, writer, and scientist.

In a previous life as a neurophysiologist, Jan Lauwereyns conducted all kinds of experiments on monkeys, while soothing his conscience by writing poems in Dutch. Today, he feels sorry even for a dying pine tree. He sees bittersweet absurdities everywhere, which at times also gives him a strange new zest for life in English and Japanese. As a worker ant at the University, he busies himself all the more diligently with practical concerns for a less horrible future.


(Photo by Robert Cross for Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, February 2006)

Jan Lauwereyns minimal fact sheet

  • Born in Antwerp, Belgium, 1969
  • Obtained a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Leuven, 1998
  • Currently a Professor at Kyushu University
  • Lives with Miki at Casa Miki in Itoshima City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
  • 1969年、ベルギー・アントワープ生まれ
  • 1998年、ルーバン大学にて博士号(心理学)取得
  • 現在、九州大学教授
  • 福岡県糸島市のCasa Mikiで美紀と二人暮らし

(Photo by Pieter Vandermeer for Poetry International, Rotterdam, June 2012)

About Jan Lauwereyns

In this wonderful and unique work, neuroscientist and poet Jan Lauwereyns explores the delicate weave of perception, thought, and action. Using roving gaze as a recurrent fixation point, Lauwereyns' scan covers not just neuroscience but large swathes of work on phenomenology and embodied cognition. The tone is appreciative throughout but the critical bite, when it comes, remains properly severe. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the science, art, and philosophy of perception.


Jan Lauwereyns brings together concepts that are generally treated as disparate, and traces the historical evolution of their relation to one another and to current research. The significance of this contribution will be partly as a stimulus to new ideas (for my own part, reading this book prompted a great deal of thought—not just about relationships between concepts, but ideas for possible new experiments), as well as its achievement in situating current ideas about decision firmly in their historical intellectual milieu. The Anatomy of Bias is the kind of book that will change people's thinking—and lives.

ヤン・ローレンス(Jan Lauwereyns)は、一般に異質なものとして扱われる概念をまとめ、その相互関係や現在の研究との関係の歴史的変遷をたどっている。本書の意義は、新たな発想のきっかけとなること(私自身、本書を読んで、概念間の関係のみならず、新たな実験の可能性について多くの思考が促されました)、また、意思決定に関する現在の考え方を、歴史的な知的環境にしっかりと位置づけることができた点にあると思います。Anatomy of Biasは、人々の思考と人生を変えるような本である。

His poetry embodies a relationship with the impossibility of perfection. The formal experiment of writing (sometimes in collaboration, in a range of languages) substantiates, up to a point and never completely, the insistent presence of absence. Forms temporarily affirm certainty, but never entirely or lastingly so: “The lake won't actually fit on the page.” Writing articulates the desire to push boundaries towards “the ultimate apostrophe”, with a view to transcending individual mortality: “To have said the unsayable / To have spoken the impeccable.”
Like the Romantic poet John Keats, one of many literary and philosophical influences (including, among others, Robert Burton and René Descartes, Gertrude Stein and Wallace Stevens), Lauwereyns writes about what he imagines. His imagination is largely inspired by a focused, selective gaze, by ‘attention’, which is also Lauwereyns’s main research interest as a cognitive neuroscientist at Kyushu University in Fukuoka.
Sometimes he dreams about “cracking the code / of the poetic soul” (Blanke Verzen [Blank Verses]), in a rewriting of the Orpheus myth. In Buigzaamheden (Pliabilities), the uncertainty of perception, the ethics of experimental research and the fruitful affirmation of a range of loves (Japan, woman, child) are interwoven into a state of mutual confirmation. The accommodation of contradictions and reversals is a recurring motif: Tegenvoetig, tweebenig (Wrong-Footed, Two-Legged) asserts, by way of return: “No train ever travels far enough.” Anophelia! De mug leeft (Anophelia! The Mosquito is Alive) dances between “The flowerbed of reality” and “The gravel path of truth” to a closer connection between ethics and aesthetics, heart and brain, animals and human beings. Most recently, in Hemelsblauw, winner of the 2012 VSB Poetry Prize, Lauwereyns celebrates pain and loss as an immortal poetic gift: “Dying, you’ll never die / Collected / The taste of sound.”

 時々、彼はオルフェウス神話を書き換えるような「詩の魂の暗号を解く」(Blanke Verzen [Blank Verses])夢を見る。Buigzaamheden (Pliabilities)』では、知覚の不確かさ、実験研究の倫理、さまざまな愛(日本、女性、子供)の実りある肯定が、相互確認の状態へと織り込まれている。矛盾や逆転を受け入れることは、繰り返されるモチーフである。Tegenvoetig, tweebenig (Wrong-Footed, Two-Legged) は、その返礼としてこう主張する。"どんな列車も十分に遠くへ行くことはできない" Anophelia! De mug leeft)は、「現実の花壇」と「真実の砂利道」の間を踊りながら、倫理と美学、心と脳、動物と人間の間の緊密なつながりを表現している。最近では、2012年VSB詩賞を受賞した『Hemelsblauw』で、ローレンスは痛みと喪失を不滅の詩の贈り物として讃えている。"死ぬこと、あなたは決して死なない/集められた/音の味 "と。

(Photo from personal archive, Itoshima, May 2022)

(Photo by Gert Jan Pos for Poetry International, Rotterdam, June 2023)