Identity and perception of the digital and virtual self

Four researchers in a panel discussion

Identity and perception of the digital and virtual self was a panel discussion at the Madrid in Game Summit 2022. The panel was organized by Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and featured Dan Casas from that university, Chus Rodríguez from Skydance Animation, Alonso Becerril from La tecnocreativa, and our own Ana Tajadura-Jiménez.

You can find here the full program of the Madrid in Game summit.

Four researchers in a panel discussion
Photo from @MadridinGame

Sensing the body through sound: Chapter in The Routledge Handbook of Bodily Awareness

Ana Tajadura-Jiménez, in collaboration with Merle T. Fairhurst and Ophelia Deroy, contributed the chapter Sensing the body through sound to the The Routledge Handbook of Bodily Awareness.

From the book abstract:

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.

The Routledge Handbook of Bodily Awarenes

From the chapter abstract:

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.

Sensing the body through sound

Semana de la Ciencia y la Innovación 2022

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.

Info and registration link: Diseña tecnología interactiva que cambie cómo te sientes con tu cuerpo y te active físicamente

Órbita Laika: Abracadabra

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. 

You can watch the full episode in the following link: Órbita Laika – T8 – Programa 2: Abracadabra. Find us starting from 46′!

ELEMENT Days: symposium and workshop

The Hearing Body: Sound-driven Body Transformation Experiences Applications for Emotional and Physical Health was the keynote presented by Ana Tajadura-Jiménez in the ELEMENT Days symposium. The symposium was organized for the the end of the project ELEMENT – Enabling Learnability in Movement Interaction on October 13th and 14th, 2022, in IRCAM, Paris, France.

The Hearing Body: Sound-driven Body Transformation Experiences Applications for Emotional and Physical Health

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.

You can watch the full presentation below, starting from the beginning of the video: Element (ANR project): Theme 2: Learning or Re-Learning Movements 3/4

2022 European Researchers’ Night

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).

You can find more information in the following links:

madri+d: Science of Excellence Interview

Ana Tajadura-Jiménez was part of an interview series organized by madri+d to feature Science of Excellence in the Community of Madrid!

You can read the interview (in Spanish) in the following link: “Diseñamos tecnologías sensoriales que cambian la percepción del cuerpo y la forma de interactuar con el entorno” | madridmasd – soc, or you can watch it below!

Entrevista a Ana Tajadura-Jiménez