Art, Mind and the Brain

Universidad Pompeu Fabra

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Art, Mind and the Brain

  • Host University

    Universidad Pompeu Fabra

  • Location

    Barcelona, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Art, Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    This course focuses on a solid dialogue between Neurosciences and Humanities by posing crucial questions on sight and aesthetics. If “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, what is behind the eye of the beholder? Why certain technical breakthroughs are so efficient? Are there inescapable rules of Art? Does biology condition what we can experience as art? Does it condition Art and Music? Can we gather reliable knowledge? Are we prone to believe? Why is Science counterintuitive? What is in our genes and what in our environment? Is the Nature vs. Nurture question a false problem?.

    The course attempts to frame the above questions into the current scientific knowledge of the brain. We analyze how sensory systems build up a representation of the world, focusing on vision and audition in connection to painting and music. This leads to a general discussion on the “perceptual rules of art”, aesthetic universals and Beauty. It continues with the question of the foundations of knowledge, the limits of knowledge and the evolutionary roots of belief, linking neurosciences with long lasting obsession in Western philosophy: the grounds of knowledge. Finally, a discussion on the so-called “critical periods” of sensory development and the question of nature and nurture as framed by current biological evidence is carried out as conclusion.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.


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