What is Birkbeck's Big Ideas?
A series of thought provoking FREE events, designed to inspire and bring world class Birkbeck academics to the local community
About the Talk
Our body is the most familiar object we encounter in the world. We know it like the back of our hand. Or do we? Recent research in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience has revealed surprisingly impoverished and systematically distorted mental representations of the body. In this event, we will discuss the brain mechanisms underlying our experience of our body. We will also demonstrate several perceptual illusions related to the body, including the rubber hand illusion and the mirror box.
Who is Professor Matthew Longo?
Dr Matthew Longo, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychological Sciences, uses the latest techniques, including neuroimaging methods, to investigate how people build body representations as part of a five-year project. It’s likely that the experiments will cover several hundred people during the research.
Building body image through fusion and segmentation:The key hypothesis underpinning the research project, called Building body representations: an investigation of the formation and maintenance of body representations, is that body representation is determined by integrating information from different sensory modalities.
For example, neurons in the brain receiving tactile signals from the peripheral nerves each provide information about the state of a very small piece of skin. By integrating this feedback across multiple neurons, progressively larger-scale representations of the body can be formed, a process Dr Longo terms “fusion”.
Through vision we experience our body as an undifferentiated whole, which can then be progressively broken into smaller parts, a process Dr Longo terms “segmentation”. Our rich perceptual experience of our body emerges from these complementary operations of fusion and segmentation.
The event is FREE and open to all, but please note that seating is allocated on a first come first served basis. Registration and refreshments start at 6pm and the talk will commence at 6.15pm. We look forward to welcoming you to this Birkbeck's Big Idea event!
Join us next month (9th November 2016) for: “Young People and alcohol: introducing health psychology research" with Dr Dominic Conroy
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