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Sunday at the Met: Art and the Mind

What happens in our brains when we see artwork that we find beautiful? Why do we react this way, and what does it mean? Scientists in the emerging field of neuroaesthetics are probing what it is about art that moves us, using technologies that allow us to study the brain’s response in astounding detail. Their insights are providing us with a new way to look at art and the mind. This World Science Festival program brings together leading researchers in the field of neuroaesthetics, along with the dynamic painter and sculptor, Matthew Ritchie, to explore the power of visual art and the biology behind it.

Presented in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Jamshed BharuchaCognitive Neuroscientist

Jamshed Bharucha conducts research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, focusing on the cognitive and neural basis of the perception of music. He is a past editor of the interdisciplinary journal Music Perception. Dr. Bharucha is the twelfth president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

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David FreedbergArt Historian

David Freedberg, the Pierre Matisse Professor of the history of art at Columbia University, is best known for his work related to psychological responses to art—particularly for his studies of iconoclasm and censorship. He is now devoting a substantial portion of his attention to collaborations with neuroscientists working in the fields of vision, movement, and emotion.

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Matthew RitchieMultimedia Artist

Matthew Ritchie is a painter, sculptor, and digital artist. His work combines science, architecture, history, and the dynamics of culture to explore the idea of information, and is featured in …

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Luke SysonArt Curator

Luke Syson is the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Curator in Charge of the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He received his B.A. from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

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Edward A. VesselNeuroscientist

Edward Vessel is an internationally recognized expert on neuroaesthetics. His research combines brain imaging with behavioral and computational approaches to study how individuals are moved by, and get pleasure from, visual experiences.

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