“Perception is an active process. Art is about communication, not representation” – Chris Frith

ChrisFrithWhat’s your preferred sensory modality? And why?

I think I prefer combinations of modalities. Warm sun, blue sky, light breeze, the smell of spring.

 

How did you begin to be interested in perception?

Learning about hallucinations while working in a mental asylum in the 1960s (and reading Aldous Huxley).

 

Among your recent papers which is your favorite and why?

Shea, N., Boldt, A., Bang, D., Yeung, N., Heyes, C., and Frith, C. D. 2014. “Supra-personal cognitive control and metacognition”. Trends In Cognitive Sciences 18: 186-193

The function of consciousness finally explained.

 

Whose work had the biggest influence on your life?

Philip K Dick, J L Borges.

 

If you could collaborate with any researcher you liked, who would it be?

Uta Frith.

 

Could you describe one mundane detail of your research day?

Trying to get access to the internet at the Institute of Philosophy (School of Advanced Study, University of London).

 

What is your most dangerous idea?

We can exert top-down control on the minds of others, including their qualia.

 

What would you like to see happening in the field in the next five years?

More wild flowers.

 

What does open research mean to you?

Open discussions. Not being concerned that people will steal your ideas or do the same experiment more quickly. Being pleased if they do.

 

How has your research on perception changed your relation to art?

Perception is an active process. Art is about communication, not representation.

 

Any artist you would like to work with?

Fred Frith.

 

How does your work connect to real life applications?

Hopefully not.

 

Any pleasant recent sensory experience you’d like to share?

Certainly not.

 

Any unpleasant recent sensory experience you’d like to share?

Certainly not.

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