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AISB event Bulletin Item

Whitehead Lecture 9th December 2009 - ROB ELLIS - Embodiment in vision: Shallow or deep?

This afternoon!

The last Whitehead lecture of autumn term 2009   will be given by Dr. Rob Ellis (Plymouth) at 4 pm on Wednesday 9th December 2009 and will be entitled "Embodiment in vision: Shallow or deep?". An abstract for the lecture and short biography for the speaker are
appended below.. A colour display poster can be downloaded from .

The lecture will take place @4pm in the Ben Pimlott lecture theatre at Goldsmiths College .

Everyone is very welcome to attend the lecture and a drinks reception afterwards.


Wednesday 9th December 2009

Dr Rob Ellis (Plymouth).

There are good reasons for supposing that perception and action are inseparable in the case of most human behaviours. I have suggested, for instance, that brain states represent visual objects by virtue of their being assemblies of visual and motor responses. It follows that a represented visual object (seen or imagined) will potentiate actions that are associated with it. Seeing a grape will facilitate a precision grip. Equally preparing a motor response will facilitate perception of objects associated with it. The intention to make a precision grip will facilitate the detection of a grape. At what level in the brain are these relationships established? A reasonable working assumption is that it is associated with relatively late (and high-level) processes corresponding to the achievement of object recognition. I will question this assumption, arguing that there is emerging evidence, including Lateralised Readiness Potential data, that the responses in early sensory pathways are modulated according to the action associations of stimuli. This is to suggest that the human brain is entirely immersed in action intentions and possibilities.

Rob graduated in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Nottingham in 1982 and completed a D.Phil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford in 1985. He attempts to understand aspects of vision using experimental, computational and philosophical techniques. For the last decade or so he has led the Vision and Action Research Group at the University of Plymouth.