2016 international Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation and Creativity

Meeting Announcement
2016 International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging (MoBI) and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation and Creativity 
Live Aqua, Cancun, Mexico 
The 2016 International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging (MoBI) and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation and Creativity (http://yourbrainonart.egr.uh.edu/) is organized by the University of Houston’s Non-Invasive Brain Machine Interface Systems Laboratory and the Blaffer Art Museum in collaboration with the Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine and Technische Universität Berlin.
The conference will take place at the Live Aqua Resort (http://www.liveaqua.com/es/web/live-aquacancun) in Cancun on July 24-27, 2016 and is by invitation only to ensure breadth and representation of all stake-holders. It seeks to unite thought-leaders and innovators acting at the intersection of the arts, neuroscience, engineering, media, industry, education and medicine to review the state of the art, identify challenges and opportunities and create a roadmap for the field moving forward to promote creativity and innovation leading to novel approaches to solving complex challenges in engineering, science, education and medicine while informing the emergent fields of neuroaesthetics and neurocreativity.
The goal is to provoke day-long discussion across five critical areas leading to the development of an strategic plan (RoadMap) for inclusion of the creative arts to foster creativity in science and engineering: 1) How best to achieve an advanced understanding of human responses to emotionally rich stimuli such as the creative arts, our physical environments, and our interactions with technology? 2) What is the best approach for uncovering basic neural mechanisms (‘reverse engineering’ the brain) underlying aesthetic and creative experiences? 3) What are the artistic, scientific and engineering challenges that affect collaboration and innovation? 4) How to promote or enhance creativity? 5) How to design new tools for understanding and promoting creativity, health, and wellness.
Topics to be addressed include but are not limited to:
  • Neural and behavioral individuality and variation
  • Cognitive, affective and neural processes in realistic, complex environments;
  • Neuroaesthetics
  • Arts, creativity and insight
  • Neuroengineering and brain-inspired art
  • Wearable MoBI technologies
  • Big data in neuroscience and cognitive science
  • Art therapy;
  • Cognitive, Medical and Pedagogical Applications
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Emotional Intelligence

Findings, including contributed papers and discussions, will appear in a special issue in the open source Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Talks will be organized in single-track but much time will be reserved for informal discussions, hands-on demonstrations, artistic performances, exhibitions, and interactions among researchers.

A doctoral/postdoctoral consortium will be an important part of the meeting to support the next generation of trans-disciplinary researchers and artists. Partial funding, based on a competitive curated selection of applicants, is available, please see conference website for further information and application procedure.
Trans-disciplinary faculty and artists are also invited to participate. Please contact the Conference Chair at jlcontreras-vidal@uh.edu (http://www.ee.uh.edu/faculty/contreras-vidal)
For information about the schedule, current list of confirmed speakers, and sponsors, please visit http://yourbrainonart.egr.uh.edu/

24th Conference of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics 2016

Don’t miss the 24th Conference of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics in 2016! It is taking place at the University of Vienna from August 29th to September 1st, 2016, hosted by the Empirical Visual Aesthetics (EVA) lab.

The conference offers many wonderful features, including symposia, spoken papers, posters, art and science presentations, and four  great keynote speakers: Elvira Brattico, Zaira Cattaneo, Stefan Sagmeister, and Norbert Schwarz.

See here for all the information concerning submission guidelines, deadlines, organisation, conference venue, travel tips, and more: http://iaea2016.univie.ac.at/

Are human visual preferences older than humans themselves?

Our most recent paper shows that we (Homo sapiens) share our preference for curved contours with our closest living primate relatives: chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla). This suggests that such preference is not a unique evolutionary acquisition of our species. It seems, rather, that we inherited it from earlier primate ancestors – at least the common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees and gorillas, which lived in Africa some 7 or 8 million years ago.

The implication is that some of the building blocks of aesthetic appreciation – visual preference, in this case – might have a long evolutionary history in the primate lineage, predating the appearance of our own species by millions of years. Whatever the details of the origin of aesthetic appreciation, it seems it was the result of tweaking and integrating perceptual, cognitive, and emotional processes common to many extant and extinct primate species.



Among the visual preferences that guide many everyday activities and decisions, from consumer choices to social judgment, preference for curved over sharp-angled contours is commonly thought to have played an adaptive role throughout human evolution, favoring the avoidance of potentially harmful objects. However, because nonhuman primates also exhibit preferences for certain visual qualities, it is conceivable that humans’ preference for curved contours is grounded on perceptual and cognitive mechanisms shared with extant nonhuman primate species. Here we aimed to determine whether nonhuman great apes and humans share a visual preference for curved over sharp-angled contours using a 2-alternative forced choice experimental paradigm under comparable conditions. Our results revealed that the human group and the great ape group indeed share a common preference for curved over sharp-angled contours, but that they differ in the manner and magnitude with which this preference is expressed behaviorally. These results suggest that humans’ visual preference for curved objects evolved from earlier primate species’ visual preferences, and that during this process it became stronger, but also more susceptible to the influence of higher cognitive processes and preference for other visual features.

Munar, E., Gómez-Puerto, G., Call, J., & Nadal, M. (2015). Common visual preference for curved contours in humans and great apesPLoS One, 10(11): e0141106

Stimulating research on the biological basis of aesthetics

%d bloggers like this: