Something new: novelty, creativity and the human brain

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Wednesday 8 May 2019

The Stripe, King Alfred Quarter, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR

6pm lecture.

You are most welcome to stay on after the lecture and share some refreshments.


Inaugural lecture from Professor Paul Sowden


New things play a special role in our lives. Our ability to detect, react and adapt to new things, such as the arrival of a stranger or the first green shoots of spring, seems automatic and effortless. New things can trigger anxiety but also give us great joy. The remarkable diversity and complexity of the physical and social environments we create are testament to our fundamental drive to have new ideas, create new things and experience the wonder and benefits they can bring.

In this lecture Professor Sowden will consider our relationship with novelty.  He will lift the curtain on some of the perceptual, thought and brain processes happening behind the scenes of both our seemingly effortless detection of novelty, and the complex experience of being creative and generating novelty. Ultimately Paul will consider whether perhaps novelty is a key organising principle of our human experience?


Paul Sowden is Professor of Psychology, Cognition and Creativity at the University of Winchester and Visiting Professor in the School of Psychology, University of Surrey. He is an Associate of the Institute of Business Creativity, Switzerland, a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Having planned a degree and career in law, a chance visit to see experiments in a university psychology department sparked a fascination from which he has never looked back. Reflecting Paul’s own varied interests and drive to explore new things, he has published on diverse topics relating to how humans perceive, interact with and create their world. His work has taken him into the perceptual worlds of radiologists, elite sports players and African populations, the MRI brain imaging lab, the school classroom, the countryside and into the studio and creative process of garden designers.


Free to attend but please reserve your seat here.




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