Embodied simulation and experimental aesthetics by Vittorio Gallese
For the next NeuroSchool seminar, we are pleased to welcome Vittorio Gallese, Professor of Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience, at the Dept. of Medicine & Surgery of the University of Parma in Italy. He will present his research about his model of perception and imagination, embodied simulation, focusing on the neurobiology of the aesthetic experience of images. The seminar will take place on May, 26th 2021, at 2:30 pm (UTC+1), via Zoom.
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My research activity since its beginning has been focusing on the relationship between the sensory-motor system and cognition, in non-human primates and humans. I am currently investigating the neurobiological and bodily roots of intersubjectivity, empathy, aesthetic experience, and various psychopathological conditions, among which Schizophrenia.
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By exploiting the empirical approach of neuroscience and physiology, we can investigate the brain-body mechanisms enabling our interactions with man-made images, shedding light on the functional mechanisms enabling their perceptual experience. In so doing we can deconstruct some of the concepts we normally use when referring to aesthetics and art. According to Hans Gumbrecht (2004), aesthetic experience involves two components: one deals with meaning, the other one with presence. The notion of presence entails the bodily involvement of image beholders through a synesthetic multimodal relationship with the artistic/cultural artefact. I will present some results of our research showing that the creative expressive processes characterizing our species, in spite of their progressive abstraction and externalization from the body, keep their bodily ties intact. Creative expression is tied to the body not only because the body is the instrument of creative expression, but also because it is the main medium allowing its experience.