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Mirror gaze experiment

The mirror gaze experiment requires the participant to sit in a near dark room and to stare at their own reflection for a set amount of time while listing to white noise. After only a short amount of time most people experience powerful illusions of facial distortion, grossly exaggerated features, faces of animals, the face…

Autoscope prototype

Autoscope builds on laboratory-based simulations of out of body experiences; the portable device allows the participant to freely navigate the world, experiencing themselves in 3rd person, as part of the landscape via a live video feed to a head-mounted display. The visual mechanisms are important in this illusion, but tactile and sonic stimuli further strengthen…

Ganzfeld and Mirror Gaze

1-1 experiment sessions in the studio I invited participants to come to my studio to take part in phase 2 of my research. This opens up to using the Ganzfeld and the Strange Face in the Mirror Illusion. Both use white noise connected to a system of biofeedback, using Galvanic skin response signals to subtly…

Clay Hand Experiments

Workshops at Manchester City Art Gallery The aim was to deliver an engaging fun activity for all the family which related to the theme of the body and ideas around perception illusion referencing the Leonardo show as well as the Bridget Riley drawings in the Gallery. The workshop was open as a drop-in open to…

Mirror Gaze Box

A rapidly prototyped blackout box for the mirror gaze box, this is to create a dark space for the Mirror Gaze Experiment. Inside is an Infa Red LED spotlight and modified web camera. The camera films the participant in real time from behind a two-way mirror, as they experience the illusory effect of sensory deprivation.

Psychometric tests

I took part in a study at BEAM LAB as a ‘neurotypical control subject. This was my first experience in experimental psychology as a participant. I found this deeply significant for my research; actually experiencing the full process of an experiment in the context of a lab. There were a number of questionnaires and tasks….

Constructing a sense of self

“He felt dizzy, stood up, turned around, and saw himself still lying in bed. He was aware that the person in bed was him, and was not willing to get up and would thus make himself late for work. Furious at the prone self, the man shouted at it, shook it, and even jumped on…

Eye tracking in arts research

Notes from the Digital Humanities, Human Technologies / AHRC NWCDTP Postgraduate Conference 2018 / part 1 https://nwcdtpconference2018.wordpress.com/home/ John Merrill [MMU] presented his project; Portrait as Landscape: Rendering the Unseen surface of the face. He explained some ideas behind visual perception and the evolution of the eye, and its flaws which were a great introduction to…

Carsten Holler / Olafur Eliasson

Carsten Holler is a key example within this study, often re- appropriating science for the purposes of art. Staging ‘Quasi-scientific’ experiments (Windsor, 2018) which transform the gallery into a laboratory. Often disorientating the viewer, or more appropriately, the participant. As well as the large-scale installations smaller performative works such as ‘Kit for Exploration of the…

Augmented hands

‘Augmented hand series’ by Golan Levin, Chris Sugrue, and Kyle McDonald, 2013-2015) ‘MIRAGE Illusion Box’ (Roger Newport, 2008) These are two very similar projects which both transform the image of a hand in real time using Augmented Virtuality (AV, the digital manipulation of real-world objects). Both take the form of a black box, into which the…

Be Another Lab

This International group interdisciplinary group adopt mechanisms employed in the cognitive sciences, such as the work of Mel Slater, and the arts. Their project ‘The Machine to Be Another’ allows anyone to experience a perspective from the body of an-other. The group speak of ‘expanding subjective experience’ and ‘understanding the relationship between identity and empathy…

Labyrinth Psychotica 

Labyrinth Psychotica is an artistic research project that aims to simulate the experience of psychosis. It uses multisensory [tactile and sonic] elements in combination with the maze environment, to create a fully immersive experience. The maze mechanism also serves as a metaphor for attempting to get inside the mind of another. The investigation aimed to…

Meeting With Sally Linkenauger

Notes from a meeting With Sally Linkenauger Lancaster University Psychology Dept. After discovering Sally’s research at the BRnet conference I wanted to experience her experiments, so I asked if I could visit her lab. The VR lab looks like a normal office space, PCs scattered around the outside, and loads of VR tech hanging around. On…

The Multi-faceted body

A few notes from the BRnet Conference the Multi-faceted body. June 2018, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK I felt strangely at home among so many research projects that use the hand as a model for the wider issues of body representation and ownership. Keynote speaker Mel Slater’s talked about his playful and engaging research. Slater’s work…

Phantom Presence

This experiment induces the sensation of a phantom presence in the room. The participant blindfolded is asked to use a stylus to prod an empty space in front of them. Using a tactile feedback system and a robot arm, the participant feels as if they are prodding themselves in the back. As the experiment progresses…

Augmented senses

In this experiment, they created a simple device [Hearspace App]  incorporating a compass and headphones. It “allows users to reliably hear the direction of magnetic North as a stable sound object in external space on a headphone. They found that “long-lasting integration into the perception of self-rotation. Short training with amplified or reduced rotation gain in…

Illusions of Invisible, alien hands, 3 arms, and shrinking bodies…

I have previously posted about the original ‘rubber hand illusion‘ in which participants are convinced a fake rubber hand is their own. A classic low tech experiment that can help us “understand how sight, touch and “proprioception” the sense of body position, combine to create a convincing feeling of body ownership, one of the foundations of self-consciousness  (Nature…

Mixing object actions and context

This research looked at how we respond to the observation of actions and how the context affects our neural processing of that action. I was fascinated to learn simply by observing an action with an object that can be potentially used for an action – such as a potato peeler – the brain seems to simulate this action….

Rubber hands ‘feel’ touch that eyes see

The first report on the Rubber Hand illusion. Published in Nature in 1998 by Matthew Botvinick, and Jonathan Cohen of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh… “We report here an illusion in which tactile sensations are referred to an alien limb. The effect reveals a three-way interaction between vision, touch and proprioception, and may…

James Turrel – Light Reignfall

[vimeo 75419053 w=640 h=360] James Turrell’s Light Reignfall @LACMA – Andrew van Baal James Turrell’s Light Reignfall Light Reignfall is a work from his series of perceptual cells, inside the participant is exposed to a uniform homogenous field of modulated light. A combination of sensory overstimulation, yet deprived of recognisable forms or space, hallucinatory effects…

Is it art if no one can see it?

As an art student, I became interested in the transformative power of the gallery and the simple mechanism of the plinth, literally elevating an object placed upon it to the status of art. I wanted to explore how these mechanisms affect the way people look at things and behave in the gallery. Artists are in a…

God Helmet

Neurologist Michael Persinger created the God Helmet, an actual helmet modified with electrical coils that can create electromagnetic fields in the wearer’s temporal lobes that induces “religious” experiences in the people who put it on. “This is a device to investigate whether religious, spiritual, and mystical experiences had a natural rather than a supernatural source….

Auditory illusion

Diana Deutsch developed some fascinating auditory illusions. These include the phenomenon of ‘speech to song’ whereby repeating loops of spoken word suddenly begin to sound like a song. In another illusion, ‘phantom words’ new words emerge from repeating fragments of words. To experience these all you need are headphones as the a stereo effect is essential,…

Inverted vision experiments

An early experiment in ‘perceptual plasticity’ was conducted by Psychologist George Stratton in1896. He used his inverted vision goggles, over a period of 8 days, and over time adapted to the point where he was able to function normally. When the glasses were removed, it took some time for him to adapt back to seeing the…

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