Advancing the Science of Arts, Health, and Wellbeing through NeuroArts

Hopkins at Home - NeuroArts

Scientific studies increasingly confirm what human beings across cultures and throughout time have long recognized: we are wired for art.

The International Arts + Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics (IAM Lab), a multidisciplinary research-to-practice initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University, is hosting a dynamic discussion about how the arts and aesthetic experiences can measurably change the body, brain, and behavior. Participating in the arts can improve physical and mental health and also help individuals and communities flourish. Join IAM Lab Founder and Executive Director Susan Magsamen in conversation with renowned soprano Renée Fleming, Artistic Advisor for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Co-Chair of the NeuroArts Blueprint, and Co-Founder of the Sound Health Network, and Dr. Nina Kraus, Neurobiologist and Director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University.

ABOUT Susan Magsamen, Bus '86 (MAS)

Susan Magsamen is the Founder and Executive Director of the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab) Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics, a pioneering initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences and the arts – and how our unique response to aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential. Magsamen is the author of the Impact Thinking model, an evidence-based research approach to accelerate how we use the arts to solve problems in health, well-being, and learning. In addition to her role at IAM Lab, she is an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University and serves as co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint initiative in partnership with the Aspen Institute.

The author of eight books, Susan’s newest book with Random House is Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us, written with Ivy Ross, Vice President of Design for Hardware at Google. It is a journey through the science of neuroaesthetics that offers proof of how our brains and bodies are transformed when we participate in the arts and aesthetic experiences, and how this knowledge can improve our physical and mental health, help us learn and flourish, and build stronger communities.

ABOUT Renée Fleming

Renée Fleming is one of the most highly acclaimed singers of our time, performing on the stages of the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. Honored with five Grammy® awards and the US National Medal of Arts, she has sung for momentous occasions from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In 2014 she brought her voice to a vast new audience when she became the first classical artist ever to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. In May 2023, Renée was named a Goodwill Ambassador for Arts and Health for the World Health Organization, and in June it was announced that she will receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor in fall 2023. Renée’s other awards include the 2023 Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum, the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, and honorary doctorates from eight leading universities.

In recent years, Renée has become a leading advocate for research at the intersection of arts, health, and neuroscience. She launched the first ongoing collaboration between The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Institutes of Health and serves as co-chair of the NeuroArts Blueprint. She has presented her program Music and the Mind in more than 50 cities around the world.

ABOUT Nina Kraus

Nina Kraus, Ph.D., is a scientist, inventor, and amateur musician who studies the biology of auditory learning. She began her career measuring responses from single auditory neurons and was one of the first to show that the adult nervous system has the potential for reorganization following learning; these insights in basic biology galvanized her to investigate auditory learning in humans.

In her deep examination of sound and the brain, Kraus makes the case for the far-reaching impact of sound, showing how hearing engages how we think, feel, move, and combine our senses. Through auditory neuroscience, she discovered how the sounds of our lives engage our neurological health for better (musicians, bilinguals) and for worse (language disorders, autism and other developmental disorders, concussion, HIV, hearing loss). Having witnessed first-hand (in single neurons and humans) how hearing can change the brain, affecting, more than any other sense, our interactions with others, she places a premium on communicating the scientific rationale for engaging in activities to strengthen the hearing brain and our sonic world. The cornerstone of her research is the ambition to improve social communication.

Kraus serves as Professor of Neurobiology, Otolaryngology and the Hugh Knowles Chair in Audiology at Northwestern University.

 Event Date
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Start Time: 12:00pm EST
End Time: 1:00pm EST

Virtual Livestream

Hopkins at Home

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