Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science

In Touch With Reality

In Touch with Reality was an evening with the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex (led by Dr. David Schwartzman and Dr. Keisuke Suzuki) held at the Wellcome collection as an outreach event to the popular exhibition States of Mind. On the evening we attracted over 100 members of the public of all ages for this two hour event. The event has also inspired this article, "Cracking Consciousness"  from James Hakner of the University of Sussex

In Touch with Reality investigated how our brains create the feeling of having a body, and how malleable this feeling is.  The exhibition showcased the Sackler Centre’s cutting-edge research straight from the lab, including multiple virtual and augmented reality exhibits, interactive displays exploring how our experience of the world is shaped by the body and how body-experience itself is actively constructed, moment-to-moment, by the brain.

These videos show how the event stretched attendees' minds with demonstrations that altered their experience of the body and shifted how their world was perceived:

The virtual reality exhibits, based on work by Dr. Keisuke Suzuki, allowed participants to ‘swap bodies’ with another person, have an out of body experience and even seamlessly swap realities while taking a journey around and outside the Wellcome trust without even leaving their chair. The evening also included a programme of talks which featured the Sackler Centre's Co-Director, Anil Seth, speaking on consciousness and the embodied self. Professor Seth's presentation outlined his approach to researching the brain basis of consciousness, exploring how experiences of embodied selfhood are complex constructions of the brain. The recurring theme and message to take home from this talk was: "I predict (myself), therefore I am". There were also many opportunities for visitors to talk with the scientists from the Sackler Centre about the exhibits and consciousness in general. An additional VR exhibit was created by Harry Brenton, Bespoke VR.

In Touch With Reality Photo Gallery

Friday 7th October 2016. Wellcome Collection, 83 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE
A range of demonstrations by members of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. Photos courtesy of James Hakner, Anil Seth.