Experiment with Perceptions in a Theatrical Approach to Neuroscience

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The Institute Presents: Neurosociety

Interactive theatrical experience connects visitors, guides and facilitators via control, presentation, and response recording systems.


The Institute Presents: Neurosociety, created by David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar, guides visitors through an immersive theatrical performance inspired and informed by neuroscientific experiments. Visitors become participants; their activity responses inform spontaneous discussions regarding personal bias and perception.

The Neurosociety experience unfolds over the course of four rooms that each address different types of experiments; Unified Field contributed to Act I and Act II. Act I, Game Show, playfully demonstrates how our biases affect our moral behavior and connections with others. Act II, Classroom, reveals how our preconceived ideas impact our decisions.

Unified Field collaborated closely with the creative team to turn their ideas into technology that enables engaging, interrogatory experiences: designing interfaces in response to early script readings, addressing challenges in previous performance iterations, and creating systems that the team could iterate with to optimize performances. Unified Field built all of the programs and systems and designed interfaces for all of the devices and visualization methods that present activities and their reflected responses.

Neursociety’s Act I and Act II include two rooms, 22 tablets locally running a custom mobile app (supporting 10 participants and one facilitator for each room), 2 servers, 10 Arduino-controlled coin receipt/distribution systems (for Game Show), projected content in one room, content presented on multiple large screens in the other room, and an anonymous demographics registration tablet that connects to a wristband printer within the entire experience’s entry. The facilitator tablets for each room control the movement through the steps of the experiments, and the participants log in to their individual tablets upon entering each room, so that their answers are tied to their user code within the master database. For indepth information please see our blog post

David Byrne Leads Games About the Brain

Neurosociety playfully interrogates visitors' moral behaviors and connections to others.

Responsive Exchange, Driven by Arduinos

An integrated system controls coin receipt and distribution within each player podium.

Star Trek’s Moral Dilemma

To enliven the content related to a series of questions posed in Game Show, we created a whimsical scene of our designer’s very own action figures.

Submit Pre-Conceived Ideas

System design links unique visitor identifications, tied to anonymous demographics, to users' responses within Classroom and Game Show.