Nb. The venue of this talk has changed from LG01 in the Professor Stuart Hall Building to Screen Room 1 in the Media Research Building (which is close to the Professor Stuart Hall Building).
The experience of our own body is built upon how the brain puts together information from the different senses along with knowledge about how our body should look and feel. For most people, most of the time, the result is a constant, stable and largely accurate representation of the body. It turns out in reality that the way our body looks and feels to us is remarkably flexible. By playing around with the information that our brain receives, we can give the rather unsettling experience of having misshapen, missing, duplicated, numb, throbbing, disconnected and misbehaving body parts. By creating such illusory experiences (because in none of these examples does the body actually change) we can begin to investigate how to understand and treat aberrant and abnormal experiences in clinical conditions. We can also have a lot of fun.
Given half a chance Dr Roger Newport will grab your hand and do something weird to it. As a psychologist studying how brain-damaged patients learn new motor strategies for rehabilitation he accidentally invented a method for applying sensory illusions to a person’s own body. This system, known as MIRAGE, can give the illusion of having stretched fingers and extra limbs or even of have a missing hand. Fulfilling his childhood desire to mess with people’s heads, he is driven to create ever more creative illusions by devilment alone, although some of his illusions occasionally turn out to have theoretical importance such as the chance discovery that they can change how people experience pain. This system is currently being used across the globe to research body image and sensory processing in healthy adults and children as well as in conditions such as brain damage, autism, medically unexplained symptoms and chronic pain. He is also available for weddings and children’s parties.
APRU Invited Speaker Programme
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