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Priscilla Mayden Lecture: Towards the Rehabilitation of Domestic Violence Offenders using Virtual Reality

April 5, 2019 @ 11:30 am - 1:30 pm MDT

2019 Priscilla M. Mayden Lecture

Presenter: Maria V. (Mavi) Sanchez-Vives, MD, PhD
ICREA Research Professor at the IDIBAPS (Institut d’Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer), Barcelona, Spain

April 5, 2019; 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM.
Lecture 12-1, (with reception before and after)
College of Nursing Building, Room 2300

The Priscilla Mayden Lecture will focus on the results of research conducted by Dr. Mavi Sanchez-Vives on the use of virtual reality to change the perspective in domestic violence – how offenders can become the victims and the impact of that experience. At the foundation of this research are years of research on embodiment in virtual reality and the power of this approach to change from physiological responses to attitudes and behaviour.

Dr. Maria V. Sanchez-VivesWe are most pleased to announce that Dr. Maria V. Sanchez-Vives from Barcelona, Spain will be our keynote speaker for the 2019 Priscilla Mayden Lecture. Her main interests include the generation of emergent activity generated by neuronal networks, multisensory integration in VR and “embodiment” of virtual bodies. She has been a pioneer in the use of VR from a neuroscientific perspective, and is one of the founders of Virtual Bodyworks Inc., a company which “…specialises in immersive virtual reality focused on medical and psychological rehabilitation.” (

One of the applications of virtual embodiment is the induction of empathy and this is currently used for rehabilitation of batterers in collaboration with the Justice Department in Barcelona, as in her 2018 publication in Nature Scientific Reports, “Offenders become the victim in virtual reality: impact of changing perspective in domestic violence.”  This VR intervention allows perpetrators to recognize fearful expressions for what they are, as opposed to interpreting them as happiness or excitement.  At the lecture, Dr. Sanchez-Vives will discuss the technology and its application as described in her paper.

Dr. Sanchez-Vives has several roles: she is an MD with a PhD in Neurosciences, ICREA Research Professor at the IDIBAPS (Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi i Sunyer in Barcelona) and the head of the Systems Neuroscience group in that Institute. She is also co-Director of the EVENT Lab, which is the Experimental Virtual Environments in Neuroscience and Technology. She previously held a position as Associate Professor of Physiology at the Medical School and Group leader at the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (UMH-CSIC). Earlier in her career, Dr. Sanchez-Vives was a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University and Yale University.  You can find her recent TED Talk here: YouTube

Priscilla M. Mayden Lecture

The annual Mayden Lecture was established in honor of Priscilla Maltby Mayden (1918-2011), recognizing her service to the University of Utah as Director of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library from 1967 – 1984. This lectureship has allowed the Eccles Library to invite knowledgeable and exciting speakers on the myriad ways technology and medicine interact to the benefit of the library and medical professions.


April 5, 2019
11:30 am - 1:30 pm MDT
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College of Nursing Auditorium
10 South 2000 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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