About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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December 27, 2004

Empathy in the Brain and in Art

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Empathy in the Brain and In Art is the theme of the upcoming fourth international conference on neuroesthetics to be held on January 15th, 2005 at UC Berkeley.

While last year's conference focused on "Emotions in Art and the Brain," here is a brief overview of this year's event from the organizers: (click here for schedule)

"Empathy, one of the most extraordinary feats of the human brain, plays a major role in social and artistic communication. We empathize with others and often respond with emotion to their condition. Artists, photographers, actors and film directors use our capacity to empathize to give their works heightened emotional appeal. But what are the neurological foundations of empathy, and on what specialized brain cells and systems does it depend?

The Fourth International Conference on Neuroesthetics will bring together scientists and artists to explore the mechanisms for empathy in the brain and the way in which artists intuitively use these processes to express or evoke empathy. The conference will cover the theme of empathy at all levels-from the response of single cells in the brain, to brain areas engaged during empathetic experience, to the devices and strategies that artists, actors and photographers use to elicit the spectator's empathy and sympathy.

Our distinguished speakers will share their insights into the mechanisms of a brain system that acts as a powerful social adhesive and is instrumental in communication - whether through language, art or music."

I highly recommend this annual conference and look forward to seeing some of you there again.

Empathy is what we all feel for our extended family and friends impacted by the 9.0 quake and the painful tsunami that followed. We are each fragile.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuroesthetics


1. Anna Stone on December 28, 2004 11:00 AM writes...

Will this be taped? I would love to have more information. I work with people with Asperger Syndrome, and empathy is the biggest issue.

Thank you,

Anna Stone

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2. Jay Cross on December 28, 2004 1:25 PM writes...

What a great way to kick off a new year! See you there!

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3. fouroboros on December 29, 2004 12:16 PM writes...

Nice, Zack. Did not know about this. Thanks.


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