Course Details

954: Neurological Reactions to Visual Arts: The Brain’s Motor Systems

February 6-8
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

We have all had the experience of attending a concert and responding with movement to the music: tapping a foot, swaying, singing along. At a scary movie, we may close our eyes or jump when the action becomes intense. When we go to an art museum and examine the paintings, what are the motor activities that indicate our reactions? Consciously, we walk to the next painting, take a photo, or tilt our heads; unconsciously we are "moved." There are several motor systems in the brain that underlie the physical and emotional reactions to art. In this study group, we will discuss the frontal and prefrontal cortex, the basal ganglia, and the cerebellum, all of which react to visual stimuli that focus when we view works of art.

Class Format: Lecture and Discussion

Hours of Reading: Less than 1 hour/session

Study Group Leader(s):

Mary Michel
Mary Ellen Michel, PhD, received her doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of MD Medical School and did post-doctoral work at the NIH. She worked as an extramural program director at NIH for more than 30 years, managing clinical and basic science grant portfolios in the neuroscience of stroke and traumatic brain injury.