Getting in the ‘Neural Groove’ - Prof Cross joins an illustrious list of Award Lecture winners

Prof. Emily S. Cross from Bangor University’s School of Psychology has been named as one of the winners of the British Science Association (BSA) prestigious Award Lectures that form part of the British Science Festival 2017. Prof Cross is one of seven top UK researchers to be recognised for their cutting-edge research at an early stage in their career, who join an illustrious group of Award Lecture recipients which includes Professor Brian Cox (winner in 2006), Maggie Aderin-Pocock (winner in 2008), and Richard Wiseman (winner in 2002).

Choreographer Ivar Hagendoorn remarked that “the limbs move, but it is the brain that dances”. When we watch a break-dancer spin on his head or a ballerina leap across the stage, how do our own dance abilities (or lack thereof) influence how we perceive performers who excite and impress us?  These are the questions Prof. Cross will aim to address in her lecture.  She is planning for her prize lecture to be an interactive event that explores what the latest neuroscience research reveals about what’s going on inside our heads when we watch movements that inspire us to get up out of our chairs and dance. 

Prof. Cross will  review her own and other research  that investigates action learning in expert and novice dancers to determine how the brain links action with perception. She will also discuss findings by her team that establish links between observers’ own physical abilities and what they find interesting (or boring) to watch dancers perform on stage.. Befitting of such subject matter, Prof. Cross predicted that “I'll probably have the audience do a bit of dancing as well (if only from their chairs)!”

Responding to the award Prof Cross said:

"I am thrilled to receive this award from an organisation as august as the British Science Association. I am very much looking forward to being part of this year's British Science Festival, and am especially excited to hear my fellow prize lecture award winners present on their fascinating topics. And of course, I’m also looking forward to sharing my science with an audience of interested members of the public at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts in Brighton this September!"

Ivvet Modinou, Head of Engagement at the BSA, said: “This year’s Award Lecture winners are highly worthy recipients due to their ground-breaking research and exceptional ability to communicate their work to wider audiences.”

Prof Cross lecture - Getting in the ‘Neural Groove’ – will be held on Friday 8th September 12.30 - 1.30 in the Auditorium of the Attenborough Centre at the University of Sussex. You can register for your free tickets here.  

Publication date: 16 August 2017