Imagery in Action: How mental imagery supports action
  • Scott Room, 1st Floor, Plymouth Central Library, 167-171 Armada Way, Plymouth PL1 1HZ

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Recent research from both neuro- and social science has revealed that behaviour – from simple actions (i.e. reaching for a glass of water) to long-term goal pursuit (preparing for an exam) – is most effective if people can visualise both the behaviours and the consequences they want to bring about.

This event will provide experiences that participants can explore. 

In the Hypnosis booth, participants will experience their body being controlled by imagined events suggested by an outside voice (if they are willing to play along). Chevreul’s Pendulum, the Ouija Board and the Automatograph will reveal that even the simplest imaginations of movement immediately affect behaviour. You will also be given the opportunity to feel the positive and motivating impact mental imagery can have and to learn how you can use it to pursue any personal goals, for example getting more out of study, or getting fitter.  

These hands-on experiences are accompanied by talks, posters and movie clips to show how such imagery can also be utilised.

This is a drop-in event and everyone is welcome to attend - no booking required.

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Biography: Patric Bach

Patric was awarded his DPhil in Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute in Munich Germany in 2004. He has previously held a research post at Bangor University, Wales, and is now lecturer in Psychology at Plymouth University. He works at the intersection of social psychology and cognitive neuroscience. His interests range from unconscious imitation in social interaction, to how people can plan their own actions and understand those of others, and, recently, to how hypnosis and related effects can take control of (willing) participants’ bodies.


Biography: Linda Solbrig

Linda has been a PhD student at Plymouth University since Jan 2015. She graduated from Plymouth University in 2014 with first class honours BSc (Hons) Psychology and also worked there as a research assistant. She is trained in two counselling approaches, Motivational Interviewing and Functional Imagery training (FIT). 

Her main area of interest is improving health and quality of life, by applying cognitive psychology to the development and advancement of novel health interventions that address behaviour change. She is currently testing the effectiveness of FIT, a mental-imagery based motivational intervention, developed by Professor David Kavanagh (Queensland University of Technology), Professor Jackie Andrade and Professor Jon May (Plymouth University), for weight loss and increasing physical activity. 

About the ESRC Festival of Social Science

(extract from the ESRC* website)

The ESRC Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.

You may be surprised at just how relevant the festival's events are to society today. Social science research makes a difference. Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society. From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday - at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, and even at the national level.


Everyone - from schoolchildren to politicians - can take part in and hear about social science research in the festival's many engaging events.

This celebration of the social sciences takes place across the UK - via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more.

Visit the ESRC Festival of Social Science website for more information about the festival.

* ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council.


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