THE LIVING LAB.
The Living Lab is an initiative created by Alfredo Spagna that fosters interdisciplinary collaborations that result in interactive events where audiences can engage research topics in new ways. Broadly, we seek to draw connections across work in various disciplines to tell societally relevant stories. We have done this by recruiting creative individuals belonging to contrasting areas of study (psychology, journalism, neuroscience, theater, and philosophy, just to name a few). We meet with the goal of demonstrating how these various disciplines can complement each other by organizing events that inspect socially relevant issues through these various lenses. Below, you will find a list of projects we are currently working on:
From under the Microscope, Unto the Stage
an interactive live streamed play developed from Psychology Research on Prejudice and Implicit Bias
A project lead by Juan E. Guerrero and funded by the Columbia University Center for Science and Society.
This academic year (2020-2021), we are seeking to develop a theatrical production that accommodates itself to the strange and tumultuous times we are living in. In a year when the healing power of live performance is perhaps most urgent, theaters around the globe have gone dark. In our small corner at Columbia, we have worked to develop a play rooted in research on prejudice and implicit bias. We aim to give artists in our community a safe way to reconnect with their art, by giving home audiences an opportunity to live stream a theatrical production that addresses some of the most pressing issues of our time.
A global-to-local processing bias in conditions of restricted awareness
the case of symmetry and illusory figures
A project lead by Isabella E. Rosario and funded by the Columbia University Data Science Institute
The scope of this research is to test participants’ ability to pay attention to illusory visual stimuli that are below conscious threshold. Growing scientific evidence has shown that we often extract meaning from complex visual scenes without necessarily analyzing each and every small detail present in that scene (Kouider et al., 2010; Campana, Rebollo, Urai, Wyart, and Tallon-Baudry, 2016). Such Global visual processing bias facilitates the rapid interpretation of our rapidly-changing surroundings, though how this process is achieved is not ye clearly understood. How can we navigate novel and complex visual scenes without analyzing the parts that compose that scene? And what happens to the local elements of the scene: are they completely discarded or only partially analyzed?
The present study aims to further explore the possibility of a global processing precedence during early vision by presenting a series of images under the perceptual threshold of consciousness.
Mindfulness of and Attention to What and in What Manner?
Concepts and Experiences of Self and Reality in Meditation Research
“Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning.” – Clifford Gertz
A project lead by Chelsey Lee Fasano and in collaboration with Shinzen Young, Jay Sanguinetti, and Kenneth Shinozuka
There has been a lot of work on studying how meditation affects attention. It is well-established that meditation increases our capacity to pay attention to the chosen object or area of awareness at this point. In this project, we aim to separate the attentional facilities required to detect the underlying substrate of reflexive consciousness from the actual experience of detecting this special nothingness – where might this special nothingness be residing, neurologically? A specific area? A pattern of oscillatory activity? A mix between the two? A lessening of signal to noise ratio so as to perceive the spaces in between sensory stimuli more clearly? A network of neurons that is responsible for a sense of separate self becoming quiet?
The Living Lab #1 - with Isabella Rossellini
“A discussion space that bridges across neuroscience, psychology and society”
“The Living LAB” is a series of events organized by Faculty of the Psychology Department that aims to enhance our undergraduate students learning experience by opening a discussion space that bridges across neuroscience, psychology, and society. Each event of the series will be delving around one topic chosen from societally-relevant issues and invited guests will include artists, scholars, activists, and industry experts, and will be open to students, and the general public. By the conclusion of this series, we aim to a) have open a space for Faculty of Columbia University to bridge across departments and to engage with outside agents in the society, b) have attracted media attention on relevant societal issues related to psychology, and c) have made a mark on our students and scholars critical thinking and on society at large. The first event was held on Friday, May 3rd and the invited speaker was be Ms. Isabella Rossellini. Isabella Rossellini, “the world’s most uncategorizable star” (Vanity Fair), is an actress, producer, film maker, model, philanthropist, and lifelong lover of animals. She is now studying the complexity of animal behavior at Hunter College (CUNY), where she is enrolled in the Animal Behavior Conservation graduate program. Daughter of Roberto Rossellini (Italian film director, screenwriter, producer, and father of the neorealism) and Ingrid Bergman (Swedish actress, winner of multiple Academy Awards), Ms. Rossellini recent artistical and cultural production diligently and funnily spans across animal behavior, going from “waist down” (e.g., Green Porno, a series of web shorts produced for the Sundance Channel) to “waist up” (e.g., her recent book “My Chickens and I” and her solo piece “Link Link Circus”). The Living LAB1 was about her, her graceful attitude, genuine educational approach, and excellent scientific communication skills, and is and is the opportunity to critically think about similarities and differences between animal and human cognition that students, scholars, and general public shouldn’t miss.