NU Ideas at the Lit & Phil | 12

Events List

Thursday 13th June | 6:00 pm

LIVE Lit & Phil Event | FREE

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Thursday 13th June | 6:00 pm

The twelfth in this series of talks in collaboration with Northumbria University

Post-break-up hallucinations: seeing, hearing, and sensing Your ‘ex’
Dr David Smailes (Health and Life Sciences)

Hallucinations occur when a person perceives something (e.g., a voice or a face) that isn’t present in their environment. Until recently, we have mostly tried to understand hallucinations in terms of something unusual happening in, for example, our auditory or visual systems. However, these explanations seem incomplete. Instead, thinking about how hallucinations might occur when something unusual happens in the systems that help us to think about and understand other people could provide a better explanation of how hallucinations develop. The value of that approach has been demonstrated by research on the hallucinations experienced following bereavement and by research into the hallucinations reported by the Deaf community.

To try and extend that work, we have started to look at the hallucinations people report following the end of a romantic relationship. Our early data suggests that at least some people do experience hallucinations of their ‘ex’ following the break-up, but these hallucinations may develop in slightly different ways to other hallucinations (e.g., post-bereavement hallucinations) that, on the surface, seem similar to post-break-up hallucinations.

 

What can we learn from babies’ brains?
Dr Lucas Franca (Engineering and Environment)

Brain development is a long and complex process that takes place from pregnancy until the end of adolescence in humans. It is marked by a series of changes which start early in pregnancy and continue after birth. In this presentation I will discuss recent research on brain development in newly-born babies. We have long established evidence about how pregnancy, birth conditions, and neurodevelopmental conditions may impact brain structure. In more recent works it was shown that those also change the way neurons communicate and different regions of the brain function. More specifically, I will discuss our computational models applied to functional magnetic resonance imaging, a technique we use to infer brain function based on availability oxygen in each area – with more oxygen being a proxy of more activity.

We learn from those models that the conditions of birth, such as gestational period and prematurity, change how different areas of the brain interact. We also learned that the cognitive development of those toddlers 18 months after birth is linked to the brain function soon after birth. This research may provide guidance on how to offer neonates better care to support their neurodevelopment.

 

A LIVE Lit & Phil Event | FREE

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