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Seeing and Feeling as Conceptual Acts
Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 6 p.m.

Join us for the first event of the VASD Program’s Senses Series where we’ll explore emotions as a mental construction and the skillful deception of magic. Magician Shawn Preston will present a short stage show preceding neuroscientist Tor Wager’s lecture titled Seeing and Feeling as Conceptual Acts. Modern neuroscience suggests that sensory perception, memory, and emotion have one important thing in common: they are “conceptual acts”—creations made from a mix of experiences, thoughts, and beliefs.

Wager will present a picture, grounded in neuroscientific evidence, of how and why this constructive process occurs and how its influence relates to illusion, creativity, and art. An audience Q+A session with Wager and magician Shawn Preston will follow the lecture.

All events are free for current RMCAD students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The general public may purchase tickets for $10 per lecture or $25 for a fall series pass. Students from other institutions are eligible for student pricing ($5 per lecture or $12 for the fall series pass).

About the Lecturer
Tor Wager, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Director of the University’s Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab (CANlab). His research focuses on the brain mechanisms underlying affective experiences— including pain, stress, and emotion. The work of CANlab has been featured on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Radiolab, PBS, CNN, National Geographic, Wired, The Economist, LA Times, Science News, BBC Television and Print, and other news services.

About Shawn Preston
Based in Denver, magician Shawn Preston is a RMCAD alum and has performed his quick wit and exceptional sleight-of-hand for nearly 20 years. His ability to deceive the senses will provide unique insight into our series and Dr. Wager’s lecture.

The Senses Lecture Series:
This year’s VASD Program lecture series will present a variety of perspectives highlighting the extraordinary aspects of the most common element of our humanity: the senses.

Sensual experiences are simultaneously ordinary and mysterious. They constitute and construct our everyday life – allowing us to navigate, understand, and interact with the world – and are delicately complex, malleable membranes bridging our inner selves to the exterior environment. But the senses can also be deceived, altered, heightened, distorted, damaged, and augmented, affecting our interpretation and perception of reality, self, and environment. Advances in science and technology, as well as the enigmatic occurrences of clairvoyance and intuition, expand empirical knowledge beyond the corporal limitations of the traditional five senses.

Contemporary artists, scholars, and designers are creating and studying ways to stimulate and satiate the multifaceted senses, influencing our interactions and knowledge of the world and of our selves.

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