On Movement, March 10 2010

Curated by Sarah Johnson

Multisensory Self-Motion Perception in Real and Simulated Spaces
Jenny Campos, PhD, Research Scientist, iDAPT, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Adjunct Member, Centre for Vision Research, York University

When we move through our environment, both dynamic visual information and body-based cues (i.e. muscles, joints and the acceleration detectors in the inner ear) jointly specify information about self-motion. I will briefly describe a series of experiments, in which we investigated participants’ abilities to perceive self-motion under a variety of sensory/motor conditions. I will also be introducing a new state-of-the-art research facility that we are developing at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute called the Challenging Environments Assessment Laboratory (CEAL). This facility consists of a large (6m x 6m), 6-degree-of-freedom motion simulator that can be outfitted with various, interchangeable payloads (portable, self-contained laboratories), including one that has a real ice floor and can produce snow and winds up to 15 km/hr. and another that consists of a 180 degree field-of-view curved projection combined with a treadmill interface.

On Sensing and Making Sense of Motion: Moving with the Rhythmical and Resonante Bodies in Craniosacral Therapy
Melissa Atkinson-Graham, Social Anthropology, York University

Drawing on my ethnographic fieldwork in the in the clinical and pedagogical spaces of craniosacral therapy–a hands-on form of therapeutic bodywork–this presentation motions to consider the ways in which practitioners in this field both shape and are shaped by the subtle movements of fluid, blood, breath, bone and energy within their bodies and the bodies of their patients. Moving through a consideration of the sensitivities by which craniosacral practitioners connect with these motions for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, I aim to pose a series of questions that speculate on the potentiality of this quality of affection and attention as a research method–an approach particularly positioned for social scientific inquiries into materiality and embodiment.

Movement in Language: A Psycholinguistic Perspective
Cara Tsang, Psychology, University of Toronto

Recent work in cognitive psychology has focused on the idea that our understanding of concepts is ultimately grounded in our physical experiences in interacting with the world. This model has been especially prevalent in the area of Psycholinguistics, with results from a variety of experiments suggesting that language is understood via mentally simulating the events or situations being described. In this talk, I will present some current research that examines how our knowledge about physical movement interacts with our processing of both literal and metaphoric language. Some work from our laboratory sheds further light on the strength and automaticity of our sensitivity to the movement-related semantics of words, even when it may be disadvantageous for processing. Finally, I will highlight some of the challenges associated with satisfactorily integrating embodied theories into models of language comprehension, as well as explore real-life situations for which an understanding of embodied language representation may be beneficial.

WIDEN (Workshops for Inter-Discipline Exchange & Novelty) aims to reveal the shared projects and symbiotic insights emerging from the manifold knowledge bases of the University of Toronto.

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On Darwin February 11 2009
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