Feb
26
Tue
Dreaming and memory consolidation (w/ Prof. Mark Blagrove @Mark_Blagrove)
Feb 26 @ 6:10 pm – 7:10 pm

There is considerable research on how REM sleep and Slow Wave Sleep are related to memory consolidation. These consolidation processes prioritize emotional and salient memories. Dreaming also incorporates emotional memories from waking life, and so it has been proposed that dreaming reflects functional neural processes during sleep. Arguments in favor and against this possibility will be explored. That dreams refer to waking life experiences in an associative or metaphorical manner has been seen to be a result of processes of linking new memories to established memories, guided by emotions common to each. That we are embodied in the dream, in a simulation of the waking world, may be required for full processing of emotions, or may have another, practice-based virtual reality function. Separate from the debate on dream function is the debate on whether the consideration of dreams by the dreamer, when awake, can elicit insight. This possibility is supported by the finding that dreams preferentially incorporate emotional experiences and refer to them metaphorically. Designs for testing this against the null hypothesis, that dreams do not tell us anything new, will be discussed.

NB: Preceding his talk (from 5 pm to 6 pm in Room 219A of the Richard Hoggart Building), Mark Blagrove will run an experiential Ullman dream appreciation group with artwork produced so as to revisit the dream. Note that, although there is no need to book, places on this workshop are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Professor Mark Blagrove researches the memory consolidation functions of sleep, the relationship of dreaming to memory consolidation and to waking life events and concerns, and the effects on the dreamer and on listeners of considering and discussing dream content.

Recent publications:

  • Comparing personal insight gains due to consideration of a recent dream and consideration of a recent event using the Ullman and Schredl dream group methods. Frontiers in Psychology, 2015, 6, 831.
  • The dream-lag effect: Selective processing of personally significant events during Rapid Eye Movement sleep, but not during Slow Wave Sleep. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 2015, 122, 98-109.
  • Sleep-dependent memory consolidation is related to perceived value of learned material. Journal of Sleep Research, 2017, 26, 302 – 308.
  • Incorporation of recent waking-life experiences in dreams correlates with frontal theta activity in REM sleep. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2018, 13, 637-647.
  • Insight from the consideration of REM dreams, Non-REM dreams and daydreams. Psychology of Consciousness (APA) (in press)

All APRU talks are open to staff, students and members of the public. Attendance is free and there is no need to book in advance. You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the APRU’s “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of venue, etc.). Visit: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/email-network/

Mar
12
Tue
Tasting words, seeing music, and feeling the pain of others: What can synaesthesia tell us about the human mind? (w/ Prof. Michael Banissy @mbanissy)
Mar 12 @ 6:10 pm – 7:10 pm

What does the name Brian taste of? What colour is the number 3? These may sound like unusual questions, but for people with synaesthesia they are a very real way to experience the world. Synaesthesia refers to a blending of the senses that are normally experienced separately. In this talk, I will explain what synaesthesia is, how we think synaesthesia happens, and what synaesthesia can tell us about mechanisms of perception in us all.

Michael is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, where he is Co-Head of Department. He has contributed to several diverse research areas, including social perception, social cognition, creativity, synaesthesia, and brain stimulation. The breadth of his work is not only seen in scientific contributions, but also in his engagement to bring science to the public and industry (e.g. he is a Royal Society Short Industry Fellow). His work resulted in him being awarded the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal (2016), and the Bertelson Award (2017) for outstanding contributions to psychological research.

All APRU talks are open to staff, students and members of the public. Attendance is free and there is no need to book in advance. You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the APRU’s “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of venue, etc.). Visit: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/email-network/

Mar
26
Tue
The Gendered Brain: The Neuroscience that Shatters the Myth of the Female Brain
Mar 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Gendered Brain: The Neuroscience that Shatters the Myth of the Female Brain @ Conway Hall

The new neuroscience that shatters the myth of the female brain. This is not feminist science – it’s just science

Reading maps or reading emotions? Barbie or Lego? We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. The twenty-first century world is one which seems determined to magnify ‘essential’ differences between men and women’s brains, from (or even before) the moment of birth. This comes via clothes, books, through schools, the workplace and the influence of social media.

Where do these supposed differences come from and how ‘essential’ are they?

Taking us back through centuries of sexism in science, The Gendered Brain shows how we arrived at the idea of an inferior, female brain and how cutting-edge breakthroughs in neuroscience can liberate us from this outdated understanding of what our brains can do. Gina Rippon shows us the reality behind much of the data that is used to justify the gender gap, and explains how major breakthroughs in neuroscience will help us dispel these stereotypes and ‘neurotrash’.

Gina Rippon is the author of The Gendered Brain: an accessible and polemic popular science book with huge repercussions for the gender debate, for education, for parenting and for how we identify ourselves. This is not feminist science – it is science.

Professor Gina Rippon is an international researcher in the field of cognitive neuroscience based at the Aston Brain Centre at Aston University in Birmingham. She is a highly experienced public speaker and a regular contributor to events such as the British Science FestivalNew Scientist Live and the Sceptics in the Pub series and, in 2015, was made an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association for her contributions to the public communication of science. She is also an advocate for initiatives to help overcome the under-representation of women in STEM subjects and belongs to WISE and ScienceGrrl, and is a member of the Speakers4Schools programme.

The Gendered Brain is her first book for a general reader. It will be available on the night from Newham Bookshop.