VR Keynote Speaker

Mel Slater
Mel Slater, ICREA-University of Barcelona & UCL


Session Chair: Bernd Frohlich, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.


Transforming the Self Through Embodiment and Agency

Immersive virtual reality (IVR) has been successfully exploited in the study of body ownership illusions - a topic that contributes to the question of how the human brain represents the body. This is made possible because with a head-tracked wide field of view head-mounted display, and other tracking and stimulation equipment, we can visually substitute a person’s real body by a virtual body (VB), that is coincident in space with the real body, moves synchronously with it, and where visuotactile synchronisation is possible with respect to seen events on the VB and the corresponding stimuli felt on the real one. Such a process of virtual embodiment typically gives rise to the perceptual illusion of ownership with respect to the virtual body. Here we explore how IVR may be used to transform the self, providing examples ranging from illusory time travel, psychological problems and illusory agency.


Mel Slater is an ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona. He became Professor of Virtual Environments at University College London in 1997. He won a UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Senior Research Fellow from 1999 to 2004, and received over 1.5M euros of funding for his work on the virtual light field approach to computer graphics, and over 1.5M euro of funding for a virtual reality Cave system at UCL. Thirty two of his PhD students have obtained their PhDs since 1989. In 2005 he was awarded the Virtual Reality Career Award by IEEE Virtual Reality ‘In Recognition of Seminal Achievements in Engineering Virtual Reality.’

He has contributed to the scientific study of virtual reality and also contributed to technical development of this field. He has contributed to the use of virtual reality in other fields, notably psychology (in relation to clinical psychology - studies of paranoia - and also social psychology) and the cognitive neuroscience of how the brain represents the body. His publications can be seen on http://publicationslist.org/melslater.

He currently co-leads the EVENT Lab  (Experimental Virtual Environments for Neuroscience and Technlogy) at the University of Barcelona which is a lab of about 25 researchers including computer scientists and psychologists, who specialise in the development and application of virtual reality in psychology and neuroscience. http://www.event-lab.org.