Plenary Sessions  

Jack Stern   Max Velmans    Alan Wing   ⇒Kevan A. C. Martin

It is our pleasure to present outstanding experts for our plenary talks.

These lectures will happen in the main Congress Hall from 11:00 to 12:15 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Jack Stern —
The Alexander-Technique: Its Role in the Treatment of Lower Back Pain

Jack Stern

Mon, 8 Aug - 11:00 to 12:15 - Congress Center, CC A

Jack Stern is a respected New York neurosurgeon with a long career spent helping people, repairing the nerve tissue of the body's motor system. Jack is an advocate for the Alexander Technique as a component of full recovery and in his talk he will explain why the Alexander Technique helps patients to get better faster and stay better longer. Jack Stern MD PhD Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine.


Entire Presentation (Powerpoint PPTX 66.3 MB)
Excerpt: Red Flags / Yellow Flags (Powerpoint PPTX 236 KB)

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Max Velmans — How to understand mind/body causal interactions

Max VelmansTuesday 9, from 11:00 to 12:15 in Congress Center, CC A

Max Velmans  has written an outstanding review of theories of consciousness, 'Understanding Consciousness' and in his talk he will explore some ways of understanding the causal links between consciousness and the embodied brain, viewed as a psychophysical unity.

Max is interested in further discussion with Alexander Teachers following his talk. Professor Max Velmans BSc PhD CPsycol FBPsS, Emeritus Professor, Dept of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London.


Presentation Slides (Powerpoint PPT 417 KB)

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Alan Wing — Sensory motor control of togetherness:
Ensemble timing and posture and balance

Alan WingThursday 10, from 11:00 to 12:15 in Congress Center, CC A

I will describe two lines of current research in my lab. The first is concerned with the high quality of synchronisation in music ensemble performance. I will describe an experiment in which a leading classical string quartet repeatedly played two short Haydn excerpts with intentional, but unrehearsed, expressive variations in timing. Time series analysis revealed temporal adjustments within the various duo combinations in the quartet that differed from pair to pair. Contrasting patterns of timing corrections, between first and second violins, on the one hand, and viola and cello, on the other, were consistent with roles commonly assigned to different instruments in chamber music ensembles. This work suggests time series analysis offers a promising method for objectively characterising timing in music ensemble.

The second line of lab research that I will present is on the contribution of light touch, in which gentle finger tip contact with an environmental fixed surface reduces body sway in standing. Forces at contact are too small to provide direct mechanical support and so are assumed to contribute cues to the control of balance. In light touch assisted balance, the reference surface need not be rigidly fixed to reduce sway. I will describe an experiment in which a moving reference, provided by touching another person reduced sway, even though that person was also swaying. In such interpersonal light touch, information about contact surface movements is used to control tracking of the surface by the hand. At the same time the information is also used to control body sway more efficiently than if there were no contact.

About Alan Wing
Alan Wing studied Physics and Psychology as an undergraduate at Edinburgh University. After completing a PhD (with AB Kristofferson) on timing of movement at McMaster University in Ontario, he continued this research as a postdoctoral research fellow (with S Sternberg) at Bell Labs in New Jersey. He then joined Medical Research Council staff at the Cambridge Applied Psychology Unit (with AD Baddeley) where he commenced studies of anticipatory control of posture in whole body balance and precision grip. Alan is currently Professor of Human Movement in the School of Psychology at The University of Birmingham where he leads the Sensory Motor Neuroscience group in research funded by BBSRC (balance in the elderly), Stroke Association (retraining hemiparetic gait; coordination in reaching), EU FP7 (nano-resolved multi-scale investigations of human tactile sensations and tissue engineered nanobiosensors).

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Kevan A. C. Martin — Lessons from Elisabeth

Kevan A. C. MartinFriday 12, from 11:00 to 12:15 in Congress Center, CC A

Kevan A.C. Martin is a Director of the Institute of Neuroinformatics and a Double Professor of Systems Neurophysiology at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). His research is on the structure and function of the cerebral cortex and he works on the physical basis of perception, cognition and action.

One of his long-term interests is the physical basis of thought. He explores many aspects of performance to find an answer to the simple question: what is the relationship between thought and movement? His own performance is as a member of Paracotta, a formation skydiving team that trains in Switzerland.

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