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Are We Truman? The Mind on Stage

Step free access available
Past event - 2019
20 May Doors 7 pm
Event 7.30 - 9:30 pm
The Winning Post, 127-129 Bishopthorpe Road,
York YO23 1NZ
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We’ve all had the feeling that we are “being watched” or we’re under surveillance, but can psychologists really tell what we’re thinking? In this selection of talks we’ll explore phenomena studied by psychologists that could be used to predict our thoughts and subtly influence our behaviour. Perhaps we are closer to the Truman Show than we think...

The Pleasures of Perception

Dr. Jonathan Flavell (University of York Research Associate)
Everything you see, hear or feel is rapidly processed by highly efficient perceptual systems. Recent research has found that some of the perceptual processes involved can be inherently pleasurable. This means that simply observing or interacting with an object in one context can be more pleasurable than if the object were in a subtly different context. As a result, certain perceptual processes can affect our preferences and decisions. We will discuss some of these processes, how they relate to aesthetic appreciation, and how they could be used to influence our behaviours.

Big Brother is watching but is he really seeing? – Identification from CCTV

Dr. Mila Mileva (University of York Research Associate )
The United Kingdom is home to 20% of the world’s CCTV cameras and only 1% of the world’s population, making it one of the most monitored countries in the world. While this might make some of us feel safe and secure and is certainly an improvement over relying on eyewitness memory, we still don’t know much about the accuracy of identifications from CCTV footage. In this talk, I will present some recent evidence on how good (or bad) people can be when making such identity decisions and discuss potential ways to improve their performance.

The science of mind reading

Dr. Sam Berens (University of York Research Associate)
From Derren Brown to 'The Mentalist', pop culture is full of characters who can supposedly decode what we are thinking by picking up on subtle behaviours. Most of these mind reading abilities are nothing more than fantasy. However, new technologies like fMRI have now made it possible to record signals directly generated by the brain. Could these advances make mind reading a reality? In this talk, we will discuss the cutting-edge research that blurs the line between science fiction and lab-based experiment.
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