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Neuroesthetics (or neuroaesthetics) is a relatively recent discipline that approaches scientifically to the study of aesthetic perceptions. The field of neuroesthetics was pioneered and named by Semir Zeki, who runs the Institute of Neuroesthetics at University College London.
Already in past centuries writers and philosophers tried to grasp the intimate essence of an aesthetic experience and to define the concept of beauty. Plato, Immanuel Kant, or art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann, to name a few, come to mind. Still, these important figures of Western thought never had the opportunity to directly see what happens in our brain when, for example, we are in front of work of art. Today we can do this. Indeed, neuroesthetics uses the techniques of neuroscience in order to explain and understand the esthetic experiences at the neurological level.

For example, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has permitted visualization of brain activity in vivo while we carry out an action, think, or become emotional. Together with other techniques, the fMRI has allowed the study of the pattern of activation of different areas of the brain, revealing that each of the cerebral structures is specialized for one or more specific tasks, like the elaboration of sensorial stimuli (visual, tactile, auditory, etc.), the planning and execution of motor processes, or the perception of determined emotional stimuli.
Yet, despite these developments, scientists are still working hard to reveal the most arcane and untouched secrets that philosophers and scientists have been debating for millennia: the mysteries of the human mind.

The Italian Society of Neuroesthetics Semi Zeki was founded in 2005 and is named after its Honorary President, Prof. Semir Zeki, who pioneered this field. Artists and scientists of international reputation joined the Association.

In this website you will find the activities of our members, as well as interviews, articles and exhibitions of interest.


Facebook group Neuroesthetics

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Direct contact:

A selection of our favourites

Prof. Zeki's blog:
Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and the brain's anxiety system

Photo gallery:
Pictures taken during our activities

Institute of Neuroesthetics:
of London and Berkeley

Prado Museum:
Google Earth's virtual tour of the Prado Museum in Madrid

Roberto Capucci:
The foundation of the celebrated Italian designer in Florence

How Art Made the World:
BBC's epic story of how Humans made Art

Simon Schama's Power of Art:
BBC recounts the remarkable story of eight moments of high drama in the making of eight art masterpieces

Best visual illusion of the year:
A celebration of the ingenuity and creativity of the world's premier visual illusion research community

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The Italian Society of Neuroesthetics has no sponsors. It is a volunteer-driven quality-oriented association. We welcome donations to keep it alive.