Bodily awareness is one of the most interesting and enigmatic forms of experience. Our earliest and most pervasive form of conscious experience, it also arguably remains the most private. Bodily awareness has also long played a central role in the study of the mind and self-consciousness, and is fundamental to much current philosophical and psychological research.
The Routledge Handbook of Bodily Awareness is an outstanding reference source to this fascinating subject. Comprising over thirty chapters by an international team of contributors, the Handbook is divided into seven parts.
Within these sections specific topics covered include bodily ownership, personal identity, self-consciousness, body modelling in robot design, body illusions, touch, proprioception, phantom limb syndrome, pain, eating disorders, out-of-body experiences and virtual reality. The handbook features specially commissioned contributions from researchers in a wide array of disciplines, whilst being accessible to readers with any disciplinary background. It also includes an interdisciplinary introduction, written by the editors, tying together the central themes with particular attention to the interaction between conceptual, technological and empirical issues.
Music makes us dance and move, but can sounds do more for our body? We may easily think that hearing is the least relevant modality for our sense of bodily self, compared, for instance, to touch, vision and interoception. Yet audition provides rich information about what is happening inside and crucially outside of our bodies: we hear ourselves breathing, or our joints crack; we hear our hands clapping against each other or stroking a piece of velvet; we hear the sounds of our footsteps mixing with those of others as we go down the stairs. Rarely is there an action or event that we are involved in which is silent, and yet audition remains relatively ignored as a contributor to our sense of self.
This chapter aims to correct this oversight, by highlighting the surprising but also special contributions that audition brings to our sense of self. We first show how certain sounds get specifically referred to our own bodies, through other senses and our motor actions, and come to shape how we represent ourselves. Rather than cataloguing various effects, we highlight what is distinctive or superior in the auditory contributions to our body representations, compared to other senses. Conceptually, sounds are not enduring objects but are bounded in time; the sounds we produce also occur through an interaction between ourselves and another object or surface. Audition therefore tells us about our bodies as a source of events, in relation to something else, rather than informing us about our body as an independent or stable object. Informationally, audition constantly monitors a full 360-degree space around us, automatically capturing events that happen to and because of us with high temporal resolution, while flexibly combining and segregating them from the sounds produced by others or external events. Together, these various characteristics can help us to identify the various clinical and practical applications where audition shows or can show its distinctive and important contribution to our body representations.
We led a workshop titled Design interactive technology that changes how you feel about your body and activates you physically in XXII Semana de la Ciencia y la Innovación de Madrid, organized by the Community of Madrid through the Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d.
This participatory workshop focuses on exploring and designing in groups sensory technology to promote physical activity. In the workshop, participants are invited to explore how certain sensations of some materials and technologies affect the perception of our body and invite us to move (to be physically active, for example). Designs made in our lab will be tested and we will reflect as a group on what works and what doesn’t for each of us when it comes to getting active and engaging in physical activity. In addition, we will co-design adaptations or even new designs using the materials and sensory technology.
We were featured in Órbita Laika, the TV program! Abracadabra was Episode 2 of Season 8 and focused on revealing how science creates illusions that defy our perception. We shared an overview of our experiments and prototypes for sensory-driven Body Transformation Experiences.
As defined by themselves, Órbita Laika is a TV program that disseminates fun science for all audiences. Órbita Laika has been exploring the magic of science for eight seasons with a variety of topics and all kinds of curiosities from experts who help viewers understand their environment and open their minds to new experiences and knowledge.
The presentations concerned movement-based interaction, from different perspectives: user-centered and participatory design studies, interactive machine learning tools and applications covering arts (dance and music), education and health.
Ana’s keynote led the theme of Learning or Re-learning Movements and presented an overview of sound-driven body transformation experiences.
During the 2022 European Researcher’s Night in Madrid, Ana Tajadura-Jiménez participated in Teatro y ciencia: más allá del bienestar (Theater and Science: beyond well-being). This event was a popular science show focused on various aspects related to our well-being, such as water, pollution caused by airplanes, the health of our cells and the impact of technology on the perception of our body. This event alternated theatrical scenes with talks by UC3M research staff on UC3M scientific projects funded by the European Research Council (ERC).
The talk by Ana was titled Tecnologías para experiencias sensoriales de transformación del cuerpo y aplicaciones para la salud (Technologies for sensory-driven body-transformation experiences and health applications).
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Laia is an Interaction Design researcher. Her research explores how interactive technologies can be designed and used to affect people’s sensorimotor experiences of themselves and others, particularly in contexts of health and wellbeing.
AQU Associate Professor with a PhD in AI. He specialises in Deep Learning, Complex Systems Modelling, and Unconventional Computing. He joined UOC (Barcelona, Spain) as a postdoctoral researcher in 2018 to develop XAI models for use in affective computing and human well-being.