On May 17th, Lynda Joy Gerry attended a conference organized by the Berlin School of Mind and Brain entitled “Watch Your Bubble!” The conference title refers to the information bubble conceptualization of social dynamics, wherein which groups of individuals are becoming increasingly nested within a bubble that reinforces only their own worldview. The conference brought in speakers on neuroaesthetics and social neuroscience, specifically Vittorio Gallese, Joerg Fingerhut, Andreas Roepstorpff, Olafur Eliasson, and Vincent Hendricks.
Neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese’s lecture specifically explored the ways in which individuals are reciprocally connected and the inter-dependence of self and other. Embodied simulations when imagining actions activate similar neural pathways as actually performing the same action. This makes film an especially evocative medium, specifically for haptic-vision and what Gallese calls “embodying technesis” wherein common action representations exist between imagination and action and also between self and other. The conference also addressed the formation and plasticity of personal identity, where identity comes from and how it is formed. Joerg Fingerhut specifically addressed the types of changes that individuals believe would make them a new person. For instance, a change in one’s musical tastes and preferences is perceived as a change in one’s identity.