Stanford Psychology Podcast
Stanford Psychology Podcast
120 - Steve Fleming and Nadine Dijkstra: Distinguishing Imagination from Reality

120 - Steve Fleming and Nadine Dijkstra: Distinguishing Imagination from Reality

This week, Julia chats with two guests from University College London, Professor Steve Fleming and Dr. Nadine Dijkstra. Professor Fleming is the Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology and Principal Investigator at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging where he leads the Metacognition Group. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the William James prize from the Association for Scientific Study of Consciousness. Dr. Dijkstra is a Senior Research Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging at University College London. She earned her PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the Donders Institute in 2019, after which she moved to London to pursue a postdoc at UCL with Professor Fleming. 

In this episode, Dr. Dijkstra and Professor Fleming take us into the fascinating realm of how we distinguish, or at least attempt to distinguish, reality from imagination. They relate the details of a recent study, which indicates that our perceptions of reality might not be as different from our imaginations as we would like to believe. They suggest that this framework of perceptual reality monitoring could be a lens through which our brains interpret all of our experiences. In fact, this perceptual reality monitoring framework might provide an explanation of how we consciously experience the world. After discussing their recent experiment and relating it to the broader field of consciousness science, each of them shares details about their career journeys and their hopes for the future of the field.

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Link to the paper we discussed

Check out more of Professor Fleming and Dr. Dijkstra’s work at the UCL Metacognition lab website

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