Conference presentation @Virtual Reality as a Transformative Technology to Develop Empathy June 20

A video conference presentation at the 1st “Virtual Reality as a Transformative Technology to Develop Empathy” Conference, organised by the “empathic Reactive MediaLab Coalition” (eRMLab Coalition) and EmpaticaXR research group.

 

Lynda Joy Gerry: Envisioning Future Technology for Compassion Cultivation

Experiments in cognitive neuroscience have recently dissociated neural pathways underpinning the experience of empathy from that of compassion. Namely, whereas the experience of empathy involves neural activations regarding an affective pain resonance with the distress or suffering of the target, compassion is correlated to reward centers and positive affect regions of the brain. The import of this finding is that empathy may in some instances lead to a withdrawal reflex if there is excessive sharing of distress with the target, whereas compassion appears to involve a care for the welfare of another and an approach motivation. Within the last five years, virtual environments (VEs) have been increasingly researched and developed towards the goal of enhancing users’ social intelligence, self-compassion, positive attitudes towards out-groups, and empathy. However, most of these VEs do not help the user to become more aware of his or her own emotional and psychological states in response to another person or persons, arguably a crucial step in the recovery from empathic distress or over-arousal. Biofeedback training has also been used for improving social cognition skills, but only a few projects have incorporated biofeedback into empathy-enhancing virtual environments. Recovery from empathic distress as a skill trained through biofeedback VEs could enhance interpersonal connectedness, quality of life, and social cohesion.

Compassion Cultivation Training in Bio-Adaptive Virtual Environments Paris, CRI June 8

As part of the Frontiers du Vivant, Lynda Joy Gerry presented and defended her project “Compassion Cultivation Training in Bio-Adaptive Virtual Environments” at the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris. This project involves using perspective-taking in virtual environments using biofeedback relating to emotion regulation (heart rate variability) to manage the recovery from empathic distress. Empathic distress is conceived as a step in the empathic process towards the understanding of another person’s affective, bodily, and psychological state, but one that can lead to withdrawal and personal distress for the empathizer. Thus, this project implements instruction techniques adopted from Compassion Cultivation Training guided meditation practices cued by biofeedback to entrain better self-other boundaries and distinctions, as well as emotion regulation.

Lynda also participated in a workshop on VR and Empathy led by Philippe Bertrand from BeAnother Lab (BAL, The Machine to Be Another). See Philippe Bertrand TEDx talk “Standing in the shoes of the others with VR”

Hybrid Arts and Science Collaboration Day dedicated to Leonardo 50

Hybrid Arts and Science Collaboration Day, Celebrating Leonardo’s 50th Anniversary  

The full day event brought together the local and international long term supporters and authors who have contributed to the 50 years of Leonardo, the leading international peer-reviewed journal on the use of contemporary science and technology in the arts and music and, increasingly, the application and influence of the arts and humanities on science and technology.

Upper image: The executive director of Leonardo-journal Roger F. Malina at the map that visualizes the broad international activity of the Leonardo community Below: Vice-dean of Aalto Arts Rasmus Vuori, Leonardo board member artist-curator Nina Czegledy, and Leonardo’s executive director  Roger F. Malina with Leonardo author Pia Tikka.

The journal Leonardo was founded in 1968 in Paris by kinetic artist and astronautical pioneer Frank Malina. Malina saw the need for a journal that would serve as an international channel of communication among artists, with emphasis on the writings of artists who use science and developing technologies in their work. After the death of Frank Malina in 1981 and under the leadership of his son, Roger F. Malina, Leonardo moved to San Francisco, California, as the flagship journal of the newly founded nonprofit organization Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST). Leonardo/ISAST has grown along with its community and today is the leading organization for artists, scientists and others interested in the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts and music.

 

Hybrid Labs The Third Renewable Futures Conference

Hybrid Labs Symposium
The Third Renewable Futures Conference
May 30 – June 1, 2018, Aalto University, Otaniemi Campus

June 31 NeurocinemAtics on narrative experience

Hybrid Labs is the third edition of Renewable Futures conference that aims to challenge the future of knowledge creation through art and science. The HYBRID LABS took place from May 30 to June 1, 2018 at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland, in the context of Aalto Festival. Celebrating 50 years of Leonardo journal and community, the HYBRID LABS conference looked back into the history of art and science collaboration, with an intent to reconsider and envision the future of hybrid laboratories – where scientific research and artistic practice meet and interact.
http://hybridlabs.aalto.fi/hls2018-symposium/

Pia Tikka and Mauri Kaipainen:
Triadic epistemology of narrative experience

We consider the narrative experience as a triangular system of relations between narrative structure , narrative perspective , and physiological manifestations associated with both. The proposal builds on the fundamentally pragmatist idea that no two of these elements are enough to explain each other, but a third is always required to explicate the interpretative angle. Phenomenological accounts altogether reject the idea of objective descriptions of experience. At the same time, a holistic understanding must assume that a narrative is shared on some level, an assumption narratology must make, and that even individual experiences are also embodied, as is evident to neuroscientists observing brain activity evoked by narrative experience. It cannot be that these accounts are incompatible forever. Using these elements, we discuss a triadic epistemology, a mutually complementary knowledge construction system combining phenomenological, narratological and physiological angles in order to generate integrated knowledge about how different people experience particular narratives.

Our approach assumes a holistic, or even deeper, an enactive perspective to experiencing, that is, assuming systemic engagement in the embodied, social, and situational environmental processes. Consequently, we propose understanding narrative content needs to be analyzed not only based on subjective reports of theexperiencer, but they also need to be related to neurophysiological manifestations of the experience. Or, describing the associated neural activity during the viewing of a film is not enough to relate it to subjective reports of the viewers, but the observations also need to be interpreted to conventions of storytelling. A selection of cases are described to clarify the proposed triadic method.

Κeywords: neurophenomenology, narrative experience, narrative perspective, enactive theory of mind, epistemology

eFilm: Hyperfilms for basic and clinical research presented by
my aivoAALTO collaborator professor Mikko Sams showed highlights of neuroscience findings related to viewing films in fMRI and introduced the concept of eFilm, a novel computational platform for producing and easily modifying films to be used in basic and clinical research.

June 1 VR TALKS at Aalto Studios

VR Research Talks organised with Virtual Cinema Lab and FiVR Track dedicated on research in and around VR, with a focus on artistic praxes around sound, alternative narrations and the self.

Daniel Landau: Meeting Yourself in Virtual Reality and Self-Compassion
Self-reflection is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose, and essence. Between the internal process of Self-reflection to the external observation of one’s reflection – runs a thin line marking the relationship between the private-self and the public-self. From Narcissus’s pond, through reflective surfaces and mirrors, to current day selfies, the concepts of self, body-image and self-awareness have been strongly influenced by the human interaction with physical reflections. In fact, one can say that the evolution of technologies reproducing images of ourselves has played a major role in the evolution of the Self as a construct. With the current wave of Virtual-Reality (VR) technology making its early steps as a consumer product, we set out to explore the new ways in which VR technology may impact our concept of self and self-awareness. ‘Self Study’ aims to critically explore VR as a significant and novel component in the history and tradition of the complex relationship between technology and the Self (—).

See more on Daniel’s work here)

 

 

Embodying Creative Expertise in Virtual Reality Zurich ZhDK May 29-31

In collaboration with BeAnotherLab (The Machine to Be Another), Lynda Joy Gerry taught a workshop, “Embodying Creative Expertise in Virtual Reality” to Masters in Interaction Design students at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZhDK), as part of a course, “Ecological perception, embodiment, and behavioral change in immersive design” led by BAL members.

Image: Poster for the students’ final project presentation and exhibition.

Lynda specifically taught students design approaches using a semi-transparent video overlay of another person’s first-person, embodied experience, as in First-Person Squared. The focus of the workshop was on Leap Motion data tracking and measurements, specifically how to calculate compatibility and interpersonal motor coordination through a match score between the two participants, and how to send this data over a network. The system provides motor feedback regarding imitative gestures that are similar in form and position, and also for gestures that occur synchronously (at the same time), ideally trying to support both types of interpersonal motor coordination. Lynda taught students the equations used and data input necessary to calculate this algorithm for the different match scores, and also how to add interaction effects to this data. Lynda showed students how to implement Leap motion hand tracking on top of stereoscopic point-of-view video and how to record user hand movements. On the 31st, students premiered their final projects at an event entitled “Scattered Senses.”

Aalto MA evaluation on Robots & Poetics

Examination of Johanna Lehto’s MA thesis “Robots and Poetics – Using narrative elements in human-robot interaction” for the Department of Media, programme New Media Design and Production on the 16th of May 2018.

As a writer and a designer, Johanna Lehto sets out to reflect upon the phenomenon of human-robot interaction through her own artistic work. To illustrate plot structure and narrative units of the interaction between a robot and human, she reflects upon how Aristotle’s dramatic principles. In her work, she applies Aristotelian drama structure to analyse a human-robot encounter as a dramatic event. Johanna made an interactive video installation in which she created a presentation of an AI character, Vega 2.0 (image). The installation was exhibited in Tokyo in Hakoniwa-exhibition on 22.-24.6.2017 and in Musashino Art University Open Campus -festival 10.-11.6.2017.

Invited young lecture Ilkka Kosunen at Tohoku Forum for Creativity, Tokyo

Image: Ilkka Kosunen presenting as the Invited Young Lecturer at the Tohoku Universal Acoustical Communication Month 2018 October 20.

Seminar on music, sound, speech and artificial intelligence

TOKYO ELECTRON House of Creativity 3F, Lecture Theater, Katahira Campus, Tohoku University [Access]

 

Enactive Virtuality at CNA Sound and Storytelling Conference LA March 22

Pia Tikka and Martin Jaroszewicz gave a joint talk at the CNA Sound and Storytelling Conference.

Image: Dr. Martin Jaroszewicz disucssing his ideas of enactive VR soundscapes at the Chapman University conference, Orange, CA, March 22.

“Enactive Virtuality – a framework for dynamically adaptive soundscapes”. 

The novel notion of enactive virtuality is discussed, drawing from the theories of enactive mind [1], and the concept of enactive cinema [2]. The key attribute of ‘enactive’ refers here to the setting in which the human agent is in continuous feed-back-looped interaction with the surrounding world. Enactive virtuality in turn refers to the story emerging in the agent’s mind in this dynamical setting in order to make sense of the world. This story is based on the agent’s current situation and previous experiences [3], and in relation to others through neurally built-in imitation of their actions [4]. Thus, the concept of ‘enactive virtuality’ extends beyond the common techno-spatial buzzword of ‘virtual reality’. While virtual reality technologies allow platforms where the perception of sound events can be modulated algorithmically, we describe the human agent’s experience of a dynamically adaptive soundscape as an expression of enactive virtuality.Theories and techniques of sound transformations in the spectral domain [5,6,7] for this setting are discussed.

References:

[1] Varela F, Thompson E, Rosch E. 1991. Embodied Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

[2] Tikka P. 2008. Enactive Cinema: Simulatorium Eisensteinense. PhD diss. Helsinki: Univ. Art and Design Publ.

[3] Heyes CM, Frith CD. The cultural evolution of mind reading. Science. 2014 Jun 20;344(6190):1243091. doi:10.1126/science.1243091.

[4] Gallese V, Eagle MN, Migone P. 2007. Intentional attunement: mirror neurons (…) J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 55(1):131-76.

[5] Jaroszewicz, M. 2015 Compositional Strategies in Spectral Spatialization. PhD thesis,University of California Riverside,

[6] Jaroszewicz, M. 2017 ”Interfacing Gestural Data from Instrumentalists,” ART – Music Review, vol. 32.

[7] Kim-Boyle. 2008. “Spectral spatialization – an overview,” RILM Abstracts of Music Literature. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.bbp2372.2008.086

Helsingin Sanomat Foundation -seminar 19 March 2018

Tekoäly viestin luotettavuuden arvioitsijana

(Seminar in Finnish language)

Keväällä 2017 Helsingin Sanomain Säätiö järjesti suunnatun haun teemana Totuudenjälkeinen aika.  Säätiön hallitus myönsi yli puoli miljoonaa euroa kymmenelle hankkeelle. Mitä hankkeille kuuluu nyt? Mitä ilmiöstä on saatu selville? Miten tästä eteenpäin?

Totuudenjälkeinen aika – nyt -seminaariin maanantaina 19.3. klo 16–18     Päivälehden museoon (Ludviginkatu 2–4).

OHJELMA

Politiikka ja distruptio. Toimitusjohtaja Taru Tujunen, Ellun Kanat

Poliittiset kuplat ja media. Dosentti, yliopisto-opettaja Arttu Saarinen, Turun yliopisto

Tekoäly viestin luotettavuuden arvioijana. Dosentti, yliopettaja Jyrki Suomala, Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulu*

Miten media selviää polarisaation ja paskapuheen aikana? Dosentti, vanhempi tutkija Antto Vihma, Ulkopoliittinen instituutti

Alustusten jälkeen paneelikeskustelu, jota vetää toimittaja Johanna Vehkoo.

#totuudenjälkeen

Lisää hankkeista: www.totuudenjälkeinen.fi

Helsingin Sanomain Säätiö on yksityinen, yleishyödyllinen säätiö. Sen tehtävänä on suomalaisen median ja laatujournalismin tulevaisuuden turvaaminen ja sananvapauden tukeminen. Säätiö jakaa apurahoja viestintäalan tutkimukseen ja koulutukseen sekä alan kilpailuihin. Helsingin Sanomain Säätiö ylläpitää Päivälehden museota ja Päivälehden arkistoa.

 

*Team:
Janne Kauttonen, FT, researcher, NeuroLab, Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulu
Jenni Hannukainen, FM, researcher, NeuroLab, Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulu
Jyrki Suomala, KT (dosentti), Lecturer, NeuroLab, Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulu
Pia Tikka, TaT (dosentti), EU Mobilitas Pluss research professor, University of Tallinn

A 13 min talk on Neurocinematics, Tallinn University Day 2018

 

1920x1080-13-eng.jpgSee full program here

At 12:15 session Pia Tikka, Research Professor, Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School “Neurocinematics”

My 13 minutes will introduce a multidisciplinary research paradigm of neurocinematics. Combining methods of cinema, enactive media, and virtual screen characters with those of cognitive sciences it allows us to unravel new aspects of the neural basis of storytelling, creative imagination, and narrative comprehension. In addition to contributing to academic research on human mind, neurocinematics contributes to a range of more specifically targeted goals, such as the impact of audiovisual media on its audience for artistic, therapeutic, or commercial implementations, to name few of many.