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Can we trust our beliefs and memories? Our everyday life is based on the assumption that there is some truth in what we believe and that we cannot voluntarily control what to remember and what to forget. But this is not always the case. This evening we will discover the power of the human mind, in all its strangeness. What if our mind is tricking us?
Why do some people believe such strange things?
Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett (Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Birmingham)
Usually we are pretty good at understanding why people have the beliefs they do. Sometimes though, beliefs are so strange that explanation eludes us. How might we explain why a subject believes that her loved one has been replaced by an imposter? Ema will explore the mechanisms behind clinical delusions and will explain why some people believe certain strange things.
How we get rid of unwanted memories and what happens when we cannot
Dr Simon Hanslmayr (Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Birmingham)
Most people would agree that forgetting is a failure of our memory, rather than a useful feature. However, sometimes we would like to get rid of unpleasant memories that we do not enjoy thinking about. Can we purposefully forget unwanted memories? Simon will explain the neural machinery that underlies this ability, and will highlight how failing to suppress memories can give rise to post-traumatic-stress disorder.