2002 Conference on Neuroesthetics

The Pleasure of Art as Sensed by the Brain

What is art, why has it been such a conspicuous feature of all societies, and why do we value it so much? The subject has been discussed at length without any satisfactory conclusion. This is not surprising. Such discussions are usually conducted without any reference to the brain, through which all art is created, executed and appreciated. Art is a human activity and, like all human activities, including morality, law and religion, depends upon, and obeys, the laws of the brain. We are still far from knowing the neural basis of these laws, but spectacular advances in our knowledge of the visual brain allows us to make a beginning in studying the neural basis of visual art.

It is only by understanding the neural laws that dictate human activity in all spheres – in law, morality, religion and even economics and politics, no less than in art – that we can ever hope to achieve a more proper understanding of the nature of man.

Sponsored by the Minerva Foundation and the Institute of Neuroesthetics, London, the conference is designed to:

  • Disseminate information about future directions in work on art and the brain
  • Provide a forum for scientists, artists, and others interested in the study of art or the brain
  • Highlight the importance of understanding the critical role of the brain in all human activities.

Conference co-sponsors include the Department of Art Practice, the Department of Philosophy, and the School of Optometry at the University of California, Berkeley.