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Scientific view on embodiment

So I started collecting scientists that work with (dis)embodiment that seem relevant and inspire my research. The main scientists in these field I found so far:

Henrik Ehrsson

Mel Slater

Manos Tsakiris

Kevin Warwick

Jeremy Bailenson

What I am interested in is how their progress give insight content wise, but more important how to manipulate the senses of a spectator and use this knowledge to translate it into cinematic tools that I can use in my research.

They use neuroimaging and behavioral methods to study how we come to experience our own body as an object distinct from the environment. Their aim is to characterise the perceptual rules and brain mechanisms whereby a central representation of one's own body is constructed by the integration of signals from the different sensory modalities (e.g., vision, touch, and proprioception).

They also investigate how the central body representation influences how we think, feel and remember ourselves, and how the external world looks to us. Finally, they study how the human body can be extended by machines and artificial limb devices for the purpose of designing, for example, advanced prosthetic limbs that feel more like real limbs.

Jeremy Bailenson

The mission of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab is to understand the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations (VR), and other forms of human digital representations in media, communication systems, and games. Our work is centered on using empirical, behavioral science methodologies to explore people as they interact in these digital worlds. However, oftentimes it is necessary to develop new gesture tracking systems, three-dimensional modeling techniques, or agent-behavior algorithms in order to answer these basic social questions. Consequently, we also engage in research geared towards developing new ways to produce these VR simulations.

The following project seeks to design, test, and distribute virtual reality interventions that teach empathy. Virtual reality simulations allow learners to experience the life of someone else by “walking a mile” in his or her shoes. Through the capabilities of the technology, learners can see their appearance and behaviors reflected in a virtual mirror as someone who is different, and perceptually experience a scenario from the perspective of any party in a social interaction.

At the Laboratory of Action and Body (LAB), Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, we investigate how our brain uses the information we perceive through the senses to create our sense of self. The main focus of our research is to empirically identify the basic neurocognitive principles governing the sense of self.

Our research is inter-disciplinary, based on neuroscientific and psychological experimental paradigms as well as on neurophilosophical approaches to selfhood. In our experiments we ask how our sense of self is influenced, among other things, by the way we integrate information from different senses, by our awareness of our own heartbeats, by our relationships with others, by our perception of the space around us, and by our social and political attitudes.

I am part-time Professor of Virtual Environments. I am an ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona, Spain, where I lead the Event Lab. My major research interest is the question of what makes virtual reality work: how is it possible to build virtual environments such that people respond realistically to events within them? What scientific explanations are there of this phenomenon? I have a particular interest in virtual reality for the creation of social scenarios, and also in using the power of virtual reality for changing the self, research that is focussed on the interface between computer science and neuroscience.

Kevin Warwick instigated a series of pioneering experiments involving the neuro-surgical implantation of a device (Utah Array/BrainGate) into the median nerves of his left arm in order to link his nervous system directly to a computer to assess the latest technology for use with the disabled. The development of the implant technology was carried out by a team of researchers headed by Dr Mark Gasson who, along with Kevin, used it to perform the ground-breaking research. Kevin was successful with the first extra-sensory (ultrasonic) input for a human and with the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans. His research has been discussed by the US White House Presidential Council on BioEthics, The European Commission and led to him being widely referenced and featured in academic circles as well as appearing as cover stories in several magazines – e.g. Wired (USA), The Week (India).

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