When you, like me, work in a scientific field very much in its infancy, you sometimes ask yourself: will this ever amount to anything? Neuroaesthetics – the thing I'm doing – is not the kind of topic to secure exposure in Nature, Science or Cell, although many neuroscientists, of course, are interested in art. I was therefore hearthened to see that Columbia University recently held a meeting on neuroaesthetics, with a patheon of bigshot neuroscientists as speakers. To just list them, the speakers included Eric Kandel, Antonio Damasio, Ray Dolan, Vittorio Gallese, Joe LeDoux, Margeret Livingstone, V.S. Ramachandran, and Semir Zeki. Wow! Suddenly I feel completely comfortable scanning person after person while asking them if they like or dislike this or that work of art…
I didn't attend the meeting, since I didn't have the time to travel all the way to the States, but the kind Columbia folks have been gracious enough to stream all the lectures, so everbody can now go see why neuroaesthetics is such an important topic!
Videos from the Art and the New Biology of the Mind conference. Columbia University, March 24, 2006.