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September 14, 2023

Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us

About This Video

Keynote speakers Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen discuss how technology is one of the biggest catalysts driving change around the world and the power of data science is unparalleled to move humanity forward. When preparing for a career in data science, experiences in arts and aesthetics are not often included at the top of the desired skills list. Yet, the arts can deliver potent and accessible solutions for the well-being of everyone and data science has helped prove the case.

The science of neuroaesthetics offers proof of how our brains and bodies are transformed when we participate in the arts and aesthetic experience. This knowledge can improve our physical and mental health, help us learn and flourish, amplify innovation, and build stronger communities. Over the last twenty years advances in technology have enabled researchers to non-invasively get inside our heads. We now know the arts alter a complex neurological network of interconnected processes including higher-order cognition such as executive function, reward, creativity, and our biological systems including immune, circulatory, and respiratory. The arts are not only our birthright–science is discovering that we are evolutionarily and physiologically wired for them.

We have been optimizing for productivity and efficiency since the industrial revolution, thinking that would make us happy and fulfilled. For many of us, this is not true. At the same time, the world is facing some of the most intractable issues of our time, from a pandemic of mental health to the climate crisis and more. To successfully address these issues a new wholistic approach that marries both the arts and aesthetics together with cognitive knowledge is essential.

In This Video
Vice President of Hardware Design, Google

Ivy Ross is the Vice President of Design for the Hardware organization at Google. Over the past six years, she and her team have launched 50+ products winning over 240 global design awards. This collection of hardware established a new Google design aesthetic that is tactile, colorful, and bold. A winner of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, Ivy’s innovative metal work in jewelry is in the permanent collections of 12 international museums.

Founder and Executive Director of the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab), Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics

Susan Magsamen is the founder and executive director of the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab), a pioneering neuroaesthetics initiative from the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences and the arts—and how our unique response to aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential.