Clarkson University Psychology Professor Robert Dowman spoke at a recent Science Cafe on how our bodies perceive pain. As an example of perception he used the photo the photo displayed behind him asking those in attendance ”How old is the woman in this picture?”
For most people pain is a highly unpleasant yet seemingly simple phenomenon: the body sustains an injury - a broken bone, a cut or burn to the skin that results in pain. The amount of pain we experience seems to be a direct result of the severity of the injury. But the relationship between pain and injury is actually far more complicated. Consider pain that occurs without any obvious sign of injury, or the experience of phantom limb pain, which is discomfort that arises from a body part (e.g., hand) that no longer exists. In this Science Café, Dowman explored the complex physical, cognitive and emotional factors involved in the pain experience.
Science Cafes bring together engineers, scientists and townspeople in a relaxed, informal setting, such as coffeehouses and pubs. The speaker makes a short presentation about a topic in his or her field, and then opens up the floor to discussion.
The next Science Cafe on Biometrics, Fingerprints, and Spoofing is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7, at Jack & Wezzie's Coffee House in Potsdam.