Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Our Futures in Mind Uploading: Public Perceptions and Narratives

  Angela Thornton (2019 cohort)

While advances in neurotechnology, especially when partnered with Artificial Intelligence (AI), are widely researched, understanding of public response is limited. My programme of research with the public contributes to our understanding of the complexities of developing these technologies and explores public awareness, understanding and reaction to one particular advanced neurotechnology – the possibility of uploading human minds. My methods included a longitudinal qualitative study - which used memory as an enabler for mind and mind uploading - as well as a novel and under-researched methodology – a website which tells the stories of two fictional characters who have uploaded their minds. The website enabled participants to fully engage with and consider the key concepts and was shown to be a valid method of encouraging narrative engagement and transportation.

Participants demonstrated the ability of humans to mentally time travel and the storytelling website allowed participants to experience and explore key themes of mind uploading including ethical considerations and subjective experience. While awareness of mind uploading has remained relatively static over the last few years, favourability towards the concept has significantly increased and this was reflected in an increasing number of people who would upload if their physical body was dying. This body of research contributes to our understanding of public perceptions of mind uploading and contributes a novel method by using digital narratives to research public opinions.

References & Further Reading:

Appel, M., Koch, E., Schreier, M., & Groeben, N. (2002). Aspekte des Leseerlebans: Skalenentwicklung. [Assessing experiential states during reading: Scale development]. Zeitschrift für Medienpsychologie.

Benedek, M., Schües, T., Beaty, R. E., Jauk, E., Koschutnig, K., Fink, A., & Neubauer, A. C. (2018). To create or to recall original ideas: Brain processes associated with the imagination of novel object uses. Cortex, 99, 93-102. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.10.024

Bezdek, M. A., & Gerrig, R. J. (2017). When Narrative Transportation Narrows Attention: Changes in Attentional Focus During Suspenseful Film Viewing. Media Psychology, 20(1), 60-89. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2015.1121830

Brooker, C., Jones, A., Reisz, B. (Executive Producers). (2011-). Black Mirror [Television series]. Zeppotron for Endemol. https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/70264888

Busselle, R., & Bilandzic, H. (2009). Measuring Narrative Engagement. Media Psychology, 12(4), 321-347. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213260903287259

Cangià, F., & Zittoun, T. (2020). Exploring the interplay between (im)mobility and imagination. Culture & Psychology, 26(4), 641-653. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354067x19899063

Cellan Jones, S., & Shindler, N. (Executive Producers), (2019-). Years and Years [Television series]. RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company). https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000539g 

Cohen, J. (2001). Defining Identification: A Theoretical Look at the Identification of Audiences With Media Characters. Mass Communication and Society, 4, 245 - 264.

Cohen, J. (2006). Audience Identification with Media Characters. In Psychology of entertainment. (pp. 183-197). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Daniels, G., & Klein, H. (2020-). Upload [Television series]. Amazon Prime. https://www.amazon.com/Upload/dp/B0858YGKZ4

Diamond, A. (2013). Executive functions. Annu Rev Psychol, 64, 135-168. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143750

Dixon, P., & Bortolussi, M. (2015). Measuring literary experience: comment on Jacobs (2016). Scientific Study of Literature, 5(2), 178-182.

Douglas, Y., & Hargadon, A. (2000). The pleasure principle: immersion, engagement, flow Proceedings of the eleventh ACM on Hypertext and hypermedia, San Antonio, Texas, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/336296.336354

Egan, K. (1992). Imagination in Teaching and Learning. Ages 8-15. British Journal of Educational Studies, 40(4), 415-417

Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition & emotion, 6(3-4), 169-200.

Harmon-Jones, C., Bastian, B., & Harmon-Jones, E. (2016). The Discrete Emotions Questionnaire: A New Tool for Measuring State Self-Reported Emotions. PLOS ONE, 11(8), e0159915. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159915

Gander, P. (1999). Two myths about immersion in new storytelling media. Lund University.

Gerrig, R. J. (1993). Experiencing narrative worlds: On the psychological activities of reading. Yale University Press.

Green, M. C., & Brock, T. C. (2000). The role of transportation in the persuasiveness of public narratives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(5), 701-721. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.79.5.701

Green, M. C., & Brock, T. C. (2002). In the mind's eye: Transportation-imagery model of narrative persuasion. In Narrative impact: Social and cognitive foundations. (pp. 315-341). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Green, M. C., Brock, T. C., & Kaufman, G. F. (2004). Understanding Media Enjoyment: The Role of Transportation Into Narrative Worlds. Communication Theory, 14(4).

Green, M. C. (2008). Research Challenges: Research challenges in narrative persuasion. Information Design Journal, 16(1), 47-52. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1075/idj.16.1.07gre

Green, M. C., & Jenkins, K. M. (2014). Interactive narratives: Processes and outcomes in user-directed stories. Journal of Communication, 64(3), 479-500.

Green, M. C. (2021). Transportation into Narrative Worlds. In L. B. Frank & P. Falzone (Eds.), Entertainment-Education Behind the Scenes: Case Studies for Theory and Practice (pp. 87-101). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-63614-2_6

Ings S., (May 2018). “Evading death and mind uploading: The ambition of transhumanism”, New Scientist https://institutions-newscientist-com.ezproxy.nottingham.ac.uk/article/2168294-evading-death-and-mind-uploading-the-ambition-of-transhumanism/

IIzard, C. E. (1991). The psychology of emotions. Springer Science & Business Media.

Jacobs, A. M. (2015). The scientific study of literary experience: Sampling the state of the art. Scientific Study of Literature, 5(2), 139-170. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.5.2.01jac

Jankowska DM and Karwowski M (2015) Measuring creative imagery abilities. Front. Psychol. 6:1591. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01591

Jung, R. E., Flores, R. A., & Hunter, D. (2016). A New Measure of Imagination Ability: Anatomical Brain Imaging Correlates. Front Psychol, 7, 496. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00496

Kim, T., & Biocca, F. (1997). Telepresence via Television: Two Dimensions of Telepresence May Have Different Connections to Memory and Persuasion.[1]. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.1997.tb00073.x

Laakasuo, M., Drosinou, M., Koverola, M., Kunnari, A., Halonen, J., Lehtonen, N., & Palomäki, J. (2018). What makes people approve or condemn mind upload technology? Untangling the effects of sexual disgust, purity and science fiction familiarity. Palgrave Communications, 4(1), 1-14.

Laakasuo, M., Repo, M., Drosinou, M., Berg, A., Kunnari, A., Koverola, M., Saikkonen, T., Hannikainen, I. R., Visala, A., & Sundvall, J. (2021). The dark path to eternal life: Machiavellianism predicts approval of mind upload technology. Personality and Individual Differences, 177, 110731. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2021.110731

Lenic, J.G. (Executive Producer). (2018-). Altered Carbon [Television series]. Netflix. https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80097140

Livingstone, S. (2002). Relationships between media and audiences: prospects for audience reception studies. In Media, ritual and identity (pp. 247-265). Routledge.

Marks, D. F. (1973). Visual Imagery Differences in the Recall of Pictures. British Journal of Psychology, 64(1), 17-24. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1973.tb01322.x

McMahan, A. (2003).Immersion, Engagement, and Presence: A Method for Analyzing 3-D Video Games. The Video Game Theory Reader (pp. 67-86) Routledge.

Moyer-Gusé, E. (2008). Toward a Theory of Entertainment Persuasion: Explaining the Persuasive Effects of Entertainment-Education Messages. Communication Theory, 18(3), 407-425. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2008.00328.x

Ogden, M. R. (2019). The Next Innovation in Immersive [Actuality] Media Isn’t Technology—It’s Storytelling. Proceedings of The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film,

Paulhus, D. L. (1991). Measurement and control of response bias. In Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes. (pp. 17-59). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-590241-0.50006-X

Qin, H., Patrick Rau, P.L., & Salvendy, G. (2009). Measuring Player Immersion in the Computer Game Narrative. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, 25(2), 107-133. https://doi.org/10.1080/10447310802546732

Richardson, D. C., Griffin, N. K., Zaki, L., Stephenson, A., Yan, J., Curry, T., Noble, R., Hogan, J., Skipper, J. I., & Devlin, J. T. (2020). Engagement in video and audio narratives: contrasting self-report and physiological measures. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 11298. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-68253-2

Ross, G., Ciorciari, J. and van Laer, T. (2018). Using EEG to Examine the Role of Attention, Working Memory, Emotion, and Imagination in Narrative Transportation (2018). European Journal of Marketing, 52(1/2), 92-117. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2892967 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2892967

Rudrum, D. (2005). From Narrative Representation to Narrative Use: Towards the Limits of Definition. Narrative, 13(2), 195-204. https://doi.org/10.1353/nar.2005.0013

Sandberg, A., & Bostrom, N. (2008). Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap Technical Report. Future of Humanity Institute.

Schwanenberg, E. (1974). Izard, CE: The Face of Emotion. New York (Appleton-Century-Crofts) 1971, 468 Seiten. Psyche, 28(9-10), 919-920.

Shaver, P., Schwartz, J., Kirson, D., & O'connor, C. (1987). Emotion knowledge: further exploration of a prototype approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(6), 1061.

Shen, L., & Seung, S.-y. (2018). On Measures of Message Elaboration in Narrative Communication. Communication Quarterly, 66(1), 79-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463373.2017.1334682

Slater, M. D., & Rouner, D. (2002). Entertainment-education and elaboration likelihood: Understanding the processing of narrative persuasion. Communication Theory, 12(2), 173-191. https://doi.org/10.1093/ct/12.2.173

Tal-Or, N., & Cohen, J. (2010). Understanding audience involvement: Conceptualizing and manipulating identification and transportation. Poetics, 38(4), 402-418. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2010.05.004

The Carboncopies Foundation (2020). https://carboncopies.org/

Vallat-Azouvi, C., Pradat-Diehl, P., & Azouvi, P. (2012). The Working Memory Questionnaire: A scale to assess everyday life problems related to deficits of working memory in brain injured patients. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 22(4), 634-649. https://doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2012.681110

Van Krieken K, Hoeken H and Sanders J (2017) Evoking and Measuring Identification with Narrative Characters – A Linguistic Cues Framework. Front. Psychol. 8:1190. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01190

Van Kuiken, D. M., & Huth, M. M. (2016). What Is 'Normal?' Evaluating Vital Signs. Nephrology nursing journal : journal of the American Nephrology Nurses' Association, 43 1, 49-58; quiz 59.

Weijters, B., Baumgartner, H., & Schillewaert, N. (2013). Reversed item bias: An integrative model. Psychological Methods, 18(3), 320-334. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032121

Zabelina, D. L., & Condon, D. M. (2020). The Four-Factor Imagination Scale (FFIS): a measure for assessing frequency, complexity, emotional valence, and directedness of imagination. Psychological Research, 84(8), 2287-2299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-019-01227-w

Publications

Public Science Lecture (December 2022) on whole brain emulation and mind uploading.

Public Science Lecture

Pint of Science 2023 - Creative Reactions where art is inspired by science. A musical interpretation of mind uploading

Creative Reactions 2023

Pint of Science 2023 - Public Talk

Pint of Science

Press Releases for British Science Festival 2023 

University of Nottingham Press Release

British Science Festival Website

5 minute segment on Notts TV  (I’m on from 5:47). 

Notts TV

Article in The Conversation

The Conversation

Interview in Dazed

Dazed