Whitehead Lectures in Cognition, Computation and Culture

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Goldsmiths' Departments of Computing and Psychology organise regular lectures by guest speakers throughout the academic year encompassing diverse aspects of cognition, computation and culture. All are welcome to attend.

All seminars are held at 4pm in the Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre, unless otherwise stated. Check our map for directions to Goldsmiths. For enquiries related to the lectures, please contact Karina Linnell or Frederic Leymarie.

Spring 2017

Title: How Do We Interact in Immersive Virtual Reality?

Speaker: Prof. Anthony Steed (UCL)
Date: 4pm Wed. January 25, 2017
Venue: Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

Abstract: The recent publicity around virtual reality has been driven by the novelty of head-mounted displays. Google, Facebook, HTC, Microsoft and Sony have all launched related displays. The publicity focuses on how the participant can be immersed within computer-generated sensory stimuli. However, the basic form of such head-mounted interfaces hasn’t changed for a couple of decades. Today’s consumer systems are certainly much more powerful but in the rush to get content out, developers and engineers have been guilty of over-looking some basic science in the field.

In this talk I will talk, from an engineering and design standpoint, how the ideas of embodied cognition can shape virtual reality experiences. Within virtual reality, you can be embodied in a virtual character and this can change how you interact with the world. I will focus on a thread of experimental work in our laboratory that demonstrates how self-representation impacts the way one interacts with the world, and with other people. The experiments will span body ownership illusions, the impact of self-representation on cognitive ability and the use of a self-avatar in tele-collaboration. I will also briefly explore the technical challenges facing virtual reality in the next 10 years.

Short bio: Professor Anthony Steed is Head of the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics (VECG) group at University College London. Prof Steed's research interests extend from virtual reality systems, through to mobile mixed-reality systems, and from system development through to measures of user response to virtual content. He has published over 200 papers in the area, and is the main author of the book “Networked Graphics: Building Networked Graphics and Networked Games”. He was the recipient of the IEEE VGTC’s 2016 Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award.

What is Virtual Reality and How Does it Work for Social Psychologists?

Dr. Sylvia Xueni Pan
4pm Wednesday 8 February 2017
Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

Virtual Reality may be new for many people, and it is certainly going to shape the future of many things, including gaming, training, and possibly education. But how does VR work for social psychologists?

As early as 2002, Blascovich et al. proposed the use of (immersive) VR "as a methodological tool for social psychology" because it helps improve the trade-off between ecological validity and experimental control.

In this talk, Dr Sylvia Pan will go through several examples from her own work from the past 10 years where VR was used to answer research questions in social interaction, and points out the benefits and pitfalls.

Sylvia Xueni Pan is a lecturer in Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. She received a BSc in Computer Science at Beihang University, Beijing, China in 2004, an MSc in Vision, Imaging and Virtual Environments at University College London (UCL), UK in 2005, and a PhD in Virtual Reality at UCL in 2009. Before joining Goldsmiths in 2015, She worked as a research associate in Computer Science, UCL, and in the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN), UCL, where she remains an honorary research fellow.

Over the past 10 years she developed a unique interdisciplinary research profile with journal and conference publications in both VR technology and social neuroscience.? Her work has been featured multiple times in the media, including BBC Horizon and the New Scientist magazine.