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Sage Gateshead



How They Manipulate Our Emotions


Part of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2019

Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis

Duration – 1.05pm - 2.05pm


According to Madmen’s ad executive Don Draper, “what you call love was invented by guys like me …to sell nylons.” So how does advertising and gaming grabs us by our emotions? Can we know when we’re being manipulated? And is there anything we can do about it?

Presenter Shahidha Bari is joined by former adman and academic Robert HeathBBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind presenter Claudia Hammond, lecturer in digital games Darshana Jayemanne and game designer May Abdalla.

Robert Heath is an expert on the emotional influence of advertising on brands, and a past Professor of Advertising Theory at University of Bath. He has worked on campaigns including the Marlboro Cowboy, Castrol GTX Liquid Engineering, and Heineken “Refreshes the Parts”. He has developed theories about what makes advertising work and is the author of The Hidden Power of Advertising and Seducing the Subconscious: The Psychology of Emotional Influence in Advertising.

Claudia Hammond is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and psychology lecturer. She presents All in the Mind and Mind Changers on BBC Radio 4 and Health Check on BBC World Service. She is the author of Emotional Rollercoaster: A journey through the science of feelings, Mind over Money: the psychology of money and how to use it betterand Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception, which won the British Psychological Society’s Popular Science Book award & the Aeon Transmission Prize.

Darshana Jayemanne is Lecturer in Games and Art at Abertay University who is interested in how digital games create powerful responses in players at both conscious and unconscious levels. He is currently investigating the role of emotion in young people’s digital play (collaborating with the NSPCC) and how this can be used to raise awareness of climate change (along with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research).

May Abdalla is co-director and founder of Anagram – an award-winning studio which creates experiences that explore our relationship with the world through physical playfulness, documentary and new tech. Anagram won the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Award for Door Into The Dark – a blindfolded sensory experience about what it means to be lost. Make Noise, their VR experience about the power of your voice to change the world, was nominated for the Future of Storytelling award and premiered at the 2018 Venice Festival. Most recently, The Collider explores power dynamics by choreographing a journey for two people across a technological divide. Anagram are presently working on a VR experience about the Uncanny with the Freud Museum and an immersive documentary about imagined realities exploring schizophrenia and online gaming.

Shahidha Bari is Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and Fellow of the Forum for European Philosophy at the LSE. She was one of the first BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers in 201. She writes for the TLS, Times Higher, The Guardianand Financial Times and appears as a critic on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Saturday Review. A presenter of radio documentaries and BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking – her book about the philosophy of dress is out later this year.

For your information…

  • Phase one tickets will be available from 12noon on Friday 15 February, with phase two tickets available from 12noon on Friday 1 March.
  • Tickets are strictly limited to four per person.
  • To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Please take your seats 10 minutes prior to the event start time otherwise you may lose your place.

Booking Information

To guarantee your ticket, book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.

Venue: Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Tickets: Free, ticketed (Max 4 per person)