Can neuroscience teach us anything about the aesthetic experience?

Neuroaesthetics is the study of the neural correlates of beauty; how the brain interests aesthetically pleasing phenomena and how sensory perception is translated into enjoyable experiences. What makes an experience aesthetically pleasing? What is the relationship between art and the mind of the viewer? And what can art teach neuroscientists about the brain?

On Monday 19th May, AXNS, in partnership with KCL Neuroscience Society and KCL Psychiatry Society, held a panel discussion of art historians, philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists, attempting to unravel how we view art and what it can tell us about the mysteries of the brain.

Please check back here for recordings, transcripts and information on the event, subscribe to our mailing list or ‘like’ and ‘follow’ us to receive updates. 

Monday 19th May 2014
7.00pm to 9.00pm at The Anatomy Lecture Theatre
KCL Strand Campus, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS


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Dr Barry C Smith

Barry C Smith is a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where he co-directs the Centre for the Study of the Senses. He has written mostly on the philosophy of mind and language, on the topics of self-knowledge and our knowledge of language.


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[column size=two_third position=first ]Professor John Hyman

John Hyman is Professor of Aesthetics; University Lecturer (CUF) and Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy at The Queen’s College, Oxford University. He is also Editor of The British Journal of Aesthetics. His research interests include epistemology and metaphysics, philosophy of mind and action, aesthetics and philosophy of art, and Wittgenstein.[/column]
[column size=one_third position=last ]john-hyman[/column]

[column size=two_third position=first ]Dr Megan Dowie

Megan is the Girdlers’ New Zealand HRC Postdoctoral Fellow working at the Medical Research Council Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit at the University of Oxford. Her current research focuses on the electron microscopic analysis of populations of neurons in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia, and she is also currently working with researchers at the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre.[/column]

[column size=one_third position=last ]Megan-Dowie[/column]

[column size=two_third position=first ]Rita Carter

Rita Carter is a science writer, lecturer and broadcaster who specialises in the human brain: what it does, how it does it, and why. She is a regular contributor to The IndependentNew ScientistThe Daily Mail and The Telegraph. For her contributions to medical journalism she was awarded the Medical Journalists’ Association Prize twice. [/column]

[column size=one_third position=last ] Rita Carter, photographed by Charlie Hopkinson ©[/column]

[column size=two_third position=first ]Professor Martin Kemp

Martin Kemp is Emeritus Research Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University. He speaks on issues of visualisation and lateral thinking to a wide range of audiences. He has published on imagery in the sciences of anatomy, natural history and optics, including The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (Yale University Press).[/column]

[column size=one_third position=last ]martin3[/column]

[column size=two_third position=first ]Dr Emily Cross

Dr Emily Cross is a senior lecturer at Bangor University in Wales where she co-directs the Social Brain in Action cognitive neuroscience laboratory. As a trained dancer, she is interested in the remarkable plasticity of the human brain to learn highly-skilled and complex movement.


[column size=one_third position=last ]Emily Cross[/column]

Chaired by: Tim Satterthwaite (The Courtauld Institute of Art)



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