CAMERA seminar series 2022 – Dr Domna Banakou
CAMERA are thrilled to be restarting their seminar series for 2022. We really hope you can join us to kick off a new year with a talk from Dr Domna Banakou, from the Event Lab (Experimental Virtual Environments for Neuroscience and Technology) at the University of Barcelona.
Speaker: Dr Domna Banakou, University of Barcelona
Hosted by: Dr Karin Petrini, CAMERA – University of Bath
19th January, 1pm
Immersive Virtual Reality: From Embodiment to Changes in Attitudes, Cognition, and Prosocial Behaviour.
My research focuses on immersive virtual reality (IVR) and how people respond to events within virtual environments. I’m attracted by the idea of simulating situations that are difficult (or impossible) to realize in physical reality, and I am especially interested in the topic of bodily representation. I focus mostly on studying transformations of the virtual bodily appearance, inspired by body ownership illusions as studied in cognitive neuroscience. My work explores the perceptual, behavioural, and higher-level cognitive correlates of body ownership illusions that occur as a function of the type of body in which embodiment occurs. This talk will focus on the use of IVR to induce body ownership illusions over virtual bodies distinct to the own and how such embodiment techniques can lead to positive behavioural change. Emphasis will be given on the influence of owning a different race body on racial discrimination, a social phenomenon of increasing interest over the past decade, with concrete examples from the literature and two recent studies on how implicit racial bias can be modulated in the long-term and under different social contexts. Embodiment will be discussed in the context of parenting and violence offense, with different studies conducted at the EventLab showing that embodying mothers in a child’s body can improve empathy towards their children’s needs or that embodiment of violence offenders in a woman’s body can modulate emotion recognition. Last, important ethical considerations that arise from the use of IVR related to the above topics will be discussed and the Golden Rule principle will be introduced as a paradigm for fostering prosocial behaviour with IVR.
Bio Dr Domna Banakou is a postdoctoral researcher at the Event Lab (Experimental Virtual Environments for Neuroscience and Technology) at the University of Barcelona. Dr Banakou completed her PhD in clinical psychology and psychobiology at the University of Barcelona. She also holds a MSc degree in computer graphics, vision and imaging from University College London, UK, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Ionian University, Greece. She was awarded a major three-year Spanish doctoral grant for her research, and she has won many other prizes for her academic achievements. She has collaborated with researchers internationally and first-authored research papers published in distinguished peer-reviewed journals and conferences, including two articles in PNAS and other articles in Nature Scientific Reports, Current Directions in Psychological Science, and Royal Society Open Science among others. She has given invited talks at esteemed international scientific meetings, and her research has been featured on major media channels in Spain and abroad (BBC, The New Yorker, The Psychologist), including a documentary film (BIAS). She combines technical expertise and experience in research methodologies to understand and promote the use of virtual reality in the fields of psychology and cognitive neuroscience.