Week 7: Neuroscience + Art

Human fascination with the brain has been existent for thousands of years. While access to the brain was limited at first then became available through dissection, the evolution of technology and art has allowed scientists to readily study it. With this technology, people have gained a better understanding of the activities in the brain. As a result, there have been numerous works done regarding it and its processes.

Students experience the effects of inversion goggles
Some of the recent developments to better understand it have been inversion goggles. Inspired by the fact that the eyes originally project the world upside down for the brain to then analyze, the inversion goggles create an upside down world. Although the brain has to adjust to the new conditions, MRI scans suggest nothing abnormal. Instead, it is quite surprising that such adjustments do not convey a change in its operations. Furthermore, Christopher deCharms, from TED TALKS, suggests that humans will soon be able to see their own brain's activities allowing them to react accordingly. Consequently, we will ultimately be able to not only adjust to changes in our surroundings but also have control in how our brain does so.

As our knowledge regarding the brain continues to grow, there are endless possibilities to portray it in works of art. One example is The Amygdaloids' "Fearing," which is a song inspired by the concept of fear as humans have studied and learned how fear works. Another example is the game Brain Age that deals with the brain's aging process and is one I have experience playing in the past. It analyzes the age of the player's brain through wide-ranging activities. One work both Dr. Vesna and the article discussed is Suzanne Anker's MRI Butterfly. It creates illusions of various forms of butterflies although the same image of the butterfly is projected on to the MRI scans of the same brain.

Speaking of illusions and the brain, LSD was one of many drugs Vesna discussed during her lecture. Using Albert Hofmann's recorded experiences, she describes the effects of LSD as creating fantastic pictures of extraordinary shapes with an intense kaleidoscope of colors. She also mentions how he believed acoustic perceptions transformed into optical perceptions. Despite its classification as hallucinogenic, one might advocate the mind is creating art. With the unpredictable translation of sounds and images into new sights, art may be created in the mind of its users every time LSD is used.

Works Cited
Frazzetto, Giovanni, and Suzanne Anker. "Neuroculture." Nature Reviews Neuroscience Nat Rev Neurosci 10.11 (2009): 815-21. Web.
TED. "Christopher deCharms: A look inside the brain in real time." YouTube. YouTube, 27 Mar. 2008. Web. 13 May 2016.
Theamygdaloids. "Fearing - The Amygdaloids." YouTube. YouTube, 14 July 2010. Web. 13 May 2016.
Ucdesma. "Neuroscience-Mark Cohen.mov." YouTube. YouTube, 12 May 2012. Web. 13 May 2016.
Uconlineprogram. "Neuroscience Pt1, Pt2, Pt3." YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 13 May 2016.


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