When in Rome…ICSC 2015

Read about Hayley’s trip to Rome to present at ICSC 2015.

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Rome, the city of seven hills, and founders Romulus and Remus (not the planets on Star Trek), also became the setting for my very first international conference talk. ICSC ( or the International Conference of Spatial Cognition) is held every 3 years in Rome at Sapienza University.

A week long, and crammed with talk sessions and posters, the conference focused on different aspects of spatial cognition including the body and space, navigation, and spatial memory. A typical Italian lunch was offered daily too, which was a treat to all cheese lovers…I however am not one of these strange people, but the pasta was yummy!

I presented my talk on Wednesday morning entitled “The effects of spatial discrepancy on peripersonal space in a virtual environment”. After overcoming the initial hurling feeling (and thinking what would Janeway do?) I managed to explain my rome hayleys talkresearch which involves separating the seen and felt hands using MIRAGE to investigate any changes in how the peri-hand space is represented when a spatial separation is created. My research demonstrated that when a 10cm separation is created implicitly, the real unseen hand loses its near hand processing benefits while the visual hand maintains this effect.

I received lots of questions which have helped me really think about what my results might mean and how we can test them next. It’s going to be a busy few months!

Amy Hollowaamy talky and Alastair Smith (University of Nottingham) also presented their current research, which were met with equally good receptions and probing questions.

In between attending the conference we managed to get out and do SOME sight-seeing (…and by some I mean 30 000 steps on day 1). Turns out Rome’s a big place. After enjoying the Trevi fountain under construction, the colosseum half covered in scaffolding, and standing in awe at the Pantheon, we (myself, Roger, Ali and Amy) found some great places to eat, drink, and try new things.statue rome

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this trip (other than the educational value of the conference) it’s not to re-order a bleach tasting cocktail when you struggled to drink it the first time (Roger’s biggest mistake), and also never to follow in the footsteps of your supervisor, who clearly makes questionable, if not brave, decisions, which sometimes involves ordering tripe.

Brilliant first international conference, reaamyselfiephotobominglly enjoyed showing people our results, and particularly appreciative of the wonderful company I had for the trip. I thank them for not forcing me to try cheese and for introducing me to limoncello. When can we go back?

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(Left: Amy, Hayley, Roger & Ali)

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