Paying Attention: The Fine Art and Neuroscience of Visual Awareness

StaffordBarbara Stafford, Distinguished University Visiting Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture

Response by Lenore Metrick-Chen, Associate Professor of Art History, Drake University

Thursday, October 24, 7:00 p.m. in Cowles Library Reading Room

Barbara Stafford’s research strives to find precise ways of bringing neurobiology, cognitive science, and the new philosophy of mind together with cultural phenomena without falling into reductivism on either side. In this lecture, she will tackle a comparatively understudied and relatively under-researched area in the contemporary neurosciences—an area where the imaging side of the humanities has much to contribute—the importance of selective attention. What are the inducements for attending carefully to the subtleties of the world?

Barbara Maria Stafford is an independent writer, curator and speaker. Her work has consistently explored the intersections between the visual arts and the physical and biological sciences from the early modern to the contemporary era. Her current research charts the revolutionary ways the neurosciences are changing our views of the human and animal sensorium, shaping our fundamental assumptions about perception, sensation, emotion, mental imagery, and subjectivity. Her most recent book is The Field Guide to a New Metafield: Bridging the Humanities-Neurosciences Divide [2011].

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