The speaker is Professor Ian Robertson, Department of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin.
Professor Robertson is Dean of Research in Trinity College Dublin and his main research interests are in neurorehabilitation, brain plasticity and cognitive neurogenomics. He is particularly interested in refining clinical diagnosis and developing specifically focused cognitive enrichment and rehabilitation methods. Conditions under current investigation include attention deficit disorder, autism, alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury and amputation.
Human beings' awareness of themselves across the four dimensions of space and time is unique in the known universe. Self-awareness, like consciousness, depends on the complex interplay of a number of different areas of the brain. A window into the nature of these processes is opened following certain types of damage to particular areas of the brain. Professor Robertson will describe some of these disorders of self-awareness, ranging from Capgras Syndrome (believing that people close to you have been replaced by identical looking strangers) to Cotard's Syndrome (believing you are dead). He will also show examples of how some aspects of self-awareness such as recognising error, can be studied using modern brain imaging methods and will briefly show how easily the self can be deceived into believing events have happened that have not, and how hypnotic phenomena can alter brain mechanisms relevant to awareness.