University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

New Grad Course Announcement: VS 500 Neuroaesthetics

October 14, 2008  by: Dom

Attention Graduate Students: New Course, Spring 09

VS 500 Neuroaesthetics
Instructor : Dr. Barbara Stafford
Registration # 255518

Course Description:

Works of art as visual, acoustic, haptic, gustatory, and olfactory forms, mobilized in space and time, constitute a vast repertory of non-linguistic types of communication. These content-bearing object-events make a direct impact on human physiology precisely because they evoke and provoke deepcorporeal resonances. Dance, music, architecture, sculpture, painting, film, performance, installation, and Web art variously do something with our bodies, and signify through some kind of bodily action, and such corporeal articulation has emerged as integral to research on the embodied, embedded, and distributed aspects of cognition from Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to Andy Clark. This action view of perceptual processes as inherently performative assumes a tight coupling between our motor movements and sensory perception. Additionally, affect, human memory capacity, feature-extraction, pattern recognition or matching all entail a view of the brain-mind continuum and how it is hooked into the feeling, phenomenal body.

In this seminar, then, we will take on extensive and sophisticated analyses of the cognitive work of images, especially their equational structure or correlational role in joining neural activities with social reality. We will investigate how the computational, symbol-generating, feature-extracting, modular and chemical brain can, in fact, be integrated with the first-person, value-driven, empathetic, and environmentally – attuned self as well as explore how images enable mental activities to cross corporeal boundaries to shape our surroundings.

For  Information on Barbara Stafford – please visit her website:

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax
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