Talk by Prof. Mel Slater

Event Date: 
Wed, 19/03/2014 - 12:00

CBC Seminars

Mel Slater, from the University of Barcelona (EventLab,, invited by Salvador Soto.

Title:  Immersive Virtual Reality: Changing the Self Not Just the Place


Virtual reality has typically been used to induce an illusory transformation of location. Instead of being in, for example, a lab, the participant has the illusion of being somewhere else, engaging in different activities. In recent years a great deal has been learned in cognitive neuroscience about how the brain represents the body. It has been found, counter to common sense, that although we tend to believe that our bodies are relatively stable it is surprisingly easy to give generate the illusion that the body has radically changed. For example, the rubber hand illusion shows that a rubber arm can be incorporated into what feels as if it is part of the body, the shrinking waist illusion can give the strong sensation of the waist radically reducing (or expanding) in size, and Pinocchio  illusion that the nose has grown very long. It has been shown that an illusory transformation of the whole body is possible including the substitution of the real body by a virtual body. In this talk I will describe some of these illusions, but concentrate more on their behavioural and attitudinal correlates. It turns out that if you have a different body then at least temporarily this affects your attitudes and behaviours, opening up new experiences and feelings. In other words there is a new path for virtual reality - to change the self and not just the place.



WEDNESDAY, March 19th, at noon (non standard date)


Campus de la Comunicacio UPF, C/ Roc Boronat, 132. MAP
Edifici 52 (Ed. Roc Boronat), room 55.309 

Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

How to get there:

Metro: Llacuna or Poblenou <L4>, Glories <L1>, Tram: Ca l’aranyó [T4]