Annual Mind in Society Lecture

20 May 2015

Time: 5:00pm
Venue: David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Mile End Campus, E1 4NS

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The Spoon Lecture
Relativity and Anchors in Time

Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins
Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge

"Einstein supposedly said 'Time only exists to prevent everything from happening at once. Although physical time proceeds forever forwards, mental time can travel backwards as well, indeed in every direction. Mental time travel allows us to re-visit our memories and imagine future scenarios. We make use of this process to define multiple realities; ones that define our sense of self in space and time. Our cognitive mechanisms for making sense of the world around us are aided and abetted by the patterns and ideas we use in our thinking, the way we choose to see the world around us and, importantly, the objects with which we choose to associate. We explore these ideas in the Spoon lecture."

Nicola Clayton is Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Clare College and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Her expertise lies in the contemporary study of comparative cognition, integrating a knowledge of both biology and psychology to introduce new ways of thinking about the evolution and development of intelligence in non-verbal animals and pre-verbal children.

Clive Wilkins is an artist and writer, and currently Artist in Residence in the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. As a fine art painter he has exhibited widely, including at the National Portrait Gallery. He is also the author of a new series of books, The Moustachio Quartet There are three books in the quartet currently in print, available from Amazon. The last book in the series is still being written and will be published in 2016. The books explore the subjective experience of thinking amidst the miasma of being, examining the experiences of four protagonists who pass through the mythical city of Warcapest. The works provide text extracts for this talk and the lecture series 'The Captured Thought' which Nicky and Clive have undertaken in the UK, in Europe and in the U.S.A Nicky and Clive's joint work arose out of their mutual interest in mental time travel, and its consequences for consciousness, identity, memory and creativity. They also regularly dance tango together.