Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Art and Brain (Art and Brain: An integrated approach to causative analysis of neural function in perception of art using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)
Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2017-06-30
Importance for society?
Causative analysis is fundamental to advancement in art perception and neuropsychological research. In the last decade with advances in brain imaging techniques—notably Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)—analysis of the brain and art has identified a consistent yet functionally diverse map of involved regions. However despite gains from previous research, perhaps the most important implication of these results has so far not been addressed. Because of technical limitations in monitoring and theoretical limitations in experimental design, there have been few attempts to consider what specific effects these areas actually have nor what are their functions. That is, while much has been done to unlock relative impact of art on activity in the brain, the reverse—a causative analysis of brain region impact on evaluative, emotional and cognitive experience of art—had not been completed. The “next step” for both art’s behavioral and neurological study must be a fully experimental consideration of what these areas actually do or how they may functionally contribute in our processing experience. This is also indispensable for progress in general neuroscience, offering insight into the brain’s role in emotion, cognition, and judgment. It may also afford a basis for understanding brain damage and for dementia/Alzheimer’s research. Findings can be used for rehabilitative art-therapy and will open exciting avenues with direct impact on Horizon 2020 goals of “coping with aging population” and applying “innovative technology” in Europe.
This project facilitated the mobility of Dr. Matthew Pelowski to the University of Vienna. The researchers engaged in a two-way training program whereupon Pelowski shared his previous expertise with Leder’s laboratory. He also received training in causative methods. The knowledge resources were then combined in a research program whereby we considered three target brain regions (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior temporal, parietal), which had been identified as playing a key role in experiencing art. Impact from causative manipulation was assessed via recording of cognitive, emotional, and evaluative reactions. The findings were also expected to culminate in a new, updated integrated model of art processing, which combines cognitive, behavioral and neurological evidence, and could serve as a new basis for the community of behavioral and brain study. Via Dr. Lamm’s ongoing diagnostic work, we also expected to explore future possibilities for the consideration of therapeutic/clinical impacts regarding identification and rehabilitation of brain damage (e.g. Dementia/Alzheimer’s, stroke). Additionally, Pelowski oversaw up to five Masters-level students, who could work on aspects of the project. The project also had secondary goals of specialized training for Pelowski in teaching and project management, achievement of a position of assistant professor, and establishment of a new integrated research node at UV, uniting Europe/US/Asia research teams, as well as general dissemination via conferences and other activities.