Understanding the self through self bias


12 January 2015, Monday

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Theater T4, Meng Wah Complex, HKU

Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, UK
Distinguished Visiting Scholar, The University of Hong Kong

This lecture is one of Winter Institute 2015 activities.

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Attempts to understand the self have a long history in psychology and philosophy, dating back to the very start of psychology as an experimental discipline. Much of the work has been built around self-report procedures which do not necessarily provide rigorous insights into the nature of self representation. An alternative approach is to study the self through systematic behavioural changes that can be found reflecting self processing. Here I will review work in my lab over the past few years that examines self-bias effects in simple perceptual tasks as a way of understanding how self information is coded, both functionally and at a neural level. The work suggests that self information can be biased towards first-person perspective taking and that self representations serve to integrate together information in both perception and memory. The implications for understanding self coding are discussed.

About the speaker

Glyn Humphreys is Watts Professor of Experimental Psychology and Principal Investigator for the CNN Lab, University of Oxford. He has interests across many areas in visual cognition, spanning both cognitive and social neuroscience. Recent work has examined the ability to select stimuli by perceptual saliency, the role of learning in binding, the interaction between working memory, action and attention. It covers a wide range of neuropsychological disorders including agnosia, apraxia, action disorganisation syndrome, alexia and amnesia, and includes the development of new clinical screening instruments for detecting cognitive problems after brain injury.

Glyn has been awarded the Spearman and President’s Medals from the British Psychological Society and also that society’s Cognitive Psychology Prize in 1998 and 2012. He was awarded the Donald Broadbent Prize for cognitive psychology research from the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (2012). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Humboldt Foundation and the British Academy. He was awarded a Life Fellowship of the Belgian Psychological Society in 1998 and the British Psychological Society in 2012. He has been Special Professor at the Universities of Leipzig, Peking and the National Academy of Sciences, China. He has edited the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Visual Cognition and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. He is a former President of the Experimental Psychology Society and is currently President of the British Neuropsychology Society. He is a Fellow of Wolfson College Oxford.


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