Abstract Nicola Plant 20 October 2014

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Performing Empathy in Conversation

This talk challenges the idea that people automatically mimic each other to better understand each others experiences, a theory suggesting that people use their bodies to inwardly simulate the Other as an interpretive mechanism. Instead I will present data that points to a more strategic use of our embodied resources. From a corpus of dyadic interactions of descriptions of bodily experiences like pain, I will show examples that suggest people use their bodies to outwardly demonstrate their understanding of each other's experiences. These demonstrations do not simply parrot back expressions to each other but uniquely perform the type of experience as empathetic feedback.

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About our speaker

Nicola Plant is a digital artist, programmer and researcher currently undertaking a PhD in Media and Arts Technology at QMUL. Nicola’s research interests are in exploring the phenomenology of intersubjectivity and embodied interaction through interactive technologies with a special interest in motion capture, interactive installation design and human computer interaction. Nicola studied an MA Digital Arts in Performance run collaboratively by the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and Birmingham Conservatoire. She gained expertise in motion capture, sensor based tracking and interaction, film and programming for interactive performance and installation. Her artistic practice involves the creation and development of interactive environments and real-time applications of technology for performance/installation.



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