Point of View in Memory and Imagery: philosophical and psychological perspectives on perspective

May 9, 2013 - May 11, 2013
Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM), Macquarie University

room 103
99 Talavera Road

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Lisa LIbby
Ohio State University

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This workshop will address perspective-taking in remembering and imagining. 


When I remember my past experiences, I may see the remembered scene from my original point of view. Alternatively I may see myself in that remembered scene, as from an observer’s perspective. Likewise, when I visualize and imagine my future or possible actions, I may adopt either an internal or ‘own eyes’ perspective, or an external or ‘see-oneself’ perspective on those imagined events. Sometimes, in both memory and imagery, I can switch perspectives. The availability of such ‘field’ and ‘observer’ perspectives is a puzzling aspect of the phenomenology of memory and imagery. It is the subject of concerted but as yet unintegrated research programs in psychology and philosophy (Nigro & Neisser 1983; Debus 2007; Rice & Rubin 2009; Libby & Eibach 2011; Goldie 2012 – a select reference list is below). The study of vantage-points in memory and imagery raises a range of intriguing questions about self-representation and the body, personality and identity, emotion and mood, movement and space, narrative and time. 

The workshop is free to attend on both days including lunch and coffee, but *registration is required* by Friday 3 May for catering purposes. Please send your registration details (name, affiliation, and 1- or 2-day attendance) to Chris McCarroll: [email protected] . Directions and map links below.

There is a public lecture by our keynote speaker Lisa Libby at 5.30pm on Thursday 9 May, in the Lecture Theatre on Level 1 of the new Australian Hearing Hub building, University Avenue, Macquarie University. No registration is required for this public lecture.

Other enquiries to the organizers: Catriona Mackenzie (Philosophy) and John Sutton (Cognitive Science): [email protected] or [email protected]


Thursday 9 May (Venue: Australian Hearing Hub Lecture Theatre, University
Avenue, Level 1)

5.30-7.00. Keynote: Lisa Libby (Psychology, Ohio State): *Picture Yourself: how visual perspective** in mental imagery functions to connect the personal past, present, and future*

7.00. Drinks Reception

Friday 10 May (Venue: Macquarie Graduate School of Management, 99 Talavera Road, room 103)

10.00-11.00. Michelle Moulds (Psychology, UNSW): *The role of visual perspective in clinical disorders*

11.30-12.00. Celia Harris (Cognitive Science, MQ):*Visuospatial perspective and constructive processes in autobiographical memory*

12.00-12.30. Ly Huynh (Psychology, UNSW): *Observer vantage perspective and rumination:** understanding their relationship in depression*

12.30-1.00. Nora Mooren (Psychology, UNSW) *The role of vantage perspective and self-discrepancy** underlying intrusion development*

1.45-2.30. Talia Morag (Philosophy, Sydney): ‘*Traumatization’ of memories from 1st and 3rd person perspectives*

2.30-3.15. Patrick Stokes (Philosophy, Deakin): *Phenomenal contemporaneity and visualization*

3.15-3.45. Daniela Helbig (History & Philosophy of Science, Sydney):*View from the cockpit: test flying data and the production of pilot memory*

4.15-5.15. Tony Morris (Sport Science, Victoria University Melbourne):* How can we examine the development of imagery perspectives?*

5.15-5.45. Kellie Williamson (Cognitive Science, MQ): *Visualization in sport: new questions and puzzles*

Saturday 11 May (Venue: Macquarie Graduate School of Management, room 103)

9.30-10.30. Catriona Mackenzie (Philosophy, MQ): title tbc

11.00-11.45. Victoria McGeer (Philosophy, ANU/ Princeton): title tbc

11.45-12.15. Chris McCarroll (Cognitive Science, MQ):*The observer perspective: what’s missing from two distinct views of the self*

12.15-12.45. Wendy Carlton (Philosophy, MQ): *Who do we take ourselves to be?** Perspective and appropriation for narrative self-constitution*

1.30-2.15. Margherita Arcangeli (Institut Nicod, Paris):* Is imagining from the inside just what you imagined?*

2.15-2.45. Alma Barner (Philosophy, ANU): *Observer memories and imaginings from the outside*

2.45-3.15. Regina Fabry (Philosophy, Mainz & Cognitive Science, MQ): *How text comprehension **influences phenomenal simulation: the case of perspective-taking in personal memory*

3.45-4.45. John Sutton (Cognitive Science, MQ):* Switching and mixing: a pluralist perspective on perspectives*

4.45-5.30. Commentaries by Dorothea Debus (Philosophy, York), Lisa Libby, and final discussion

For further information contact the organizers, Catriona Mackenzie ([email protected]) or John Sutton ([email protected]).

Select references

  • Debus, Dorothea (2007). Perspectives on the past: a study of the spatial perspectival characteristics of recollective memories. Mind & Language 22, 173-206.
  • Goldie, Peter (2012). The Mess Inside: narrative, emotion, and the mind. Oxford University Press.
  • Kuyken, Willem & Michelle L. Moulds (2009). Remembering as an observer: how is autobiographical memory retrieval vantage perspective linked to depression? Memory 17, 624-634.
  • Libby, Lisa K. & Richard Eibach (2011). Visual perspective in mental imagery: A representational tool that functions in judgment, emotion, and self-insight. In M.P. Zanna & J.M. Olson (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 44, pp.185-245. Academic Press.
  • Mackenzie, Catriona (2007). Imagination, identity, and self-transformation. In K. Atkins & C. Mackenzie (Eds) Practical Identity and Narrative Agency, pp.121-145. Routledge.
  • Morris, Tony, Michael Spittle, & Anthony P. Watt (2005). Imagery Perspectives. In Morris, Spittle, & Watt, Imagery in Sport, pp.127-152. Human Kinetics.
  • Nigro, Georgia & Ulric Neisser (1983). Point of view in personal memories. Cognitive Psychology 15, 467-482. 
  • Rice, Heather J. & David C. Rubin (2009). I can see it both ways: first- and third-person visual perspectives at retrieval. Consciousness and Cognition 18, 877-890.
  • Sutton, John (2010). Observer perspective and acentred memory: some puzzles about point of view in personal memory. Philosophical Studies 148, 27-37.

Macquarie Uni campus map:

On this map, the Australian Hearing Hub (venue for the Thursday evening
public lecture) is bottom centre (map reference S13-T15), a few minutes
walk from both Epping Road and the Macquarie University station. The
Macquarie Graduate School of Management (venue for the Friday-Saturday
workshop) is top right, F22-23. Sydney transport infoline for train and bus
routes and timetables: http://www.131500.com.au/

Updates including suggestions for accommodation options and abstracts for
the papers will appear on the conference websites:
http://www.johnsutton.net/Perspective_Workshop.html and

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May 3, 2013, 10:00am +10:00

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