Is Pain Real? - Professor Mark Johnson - Leeds International Festival

Wednesday 8 May
17:00 - 18:00

Is Pain Real? – Professor Mark Johnson

This talk by Professor Mark Johnson forms part of our What does it mean to be human – fringe events.

Neuroscientists and philosophers have suggested that conscious awareness may be a controlled hallucination, and that our experience of the world is an illusion of reality.

How can this be when everything feels so real?

Take pain for example. Pain warns us of tissue damage from injury or disease. We experience pain with such certainty that it seems ridiculous to suggest that it could be an illusion. Yet pain is not visible. Therefore, we start to doubt the existence of pain in another person when we cannot see tissue damage, or physical evidence of their suffering.

Join Professor Mark Johnson on a journey into the peculiar, perplexing and paradoxical world of pain.

Mark will challenge the belief of a tight coupling between pain and tissue damage, and then demonstrate how the brain constructs our conscious experience by injecting its own information into the perceptual process.  Ultimately, he will ask ‘Is Pain Real?’

Event partners

Is Pain Real? - Professor Mark Johnson

Wednesday 8 May 17:00 - 18:00
Free (ticketed)
Discovery Zone

Mark Johnson is Professor of Pain and Analgesia and Director of the Centre for Pain Research at Leeds Beckett University, U.K. Mark has investigated the science of pain for over three decades. He is particularly interested in pain perception, individuality and pain, and non-drug analgesics. He has published over 250 research articles and book chapters. His recent book on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) was shortlisted at the British Medical Association Book Awards 2015.