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Semir Zeki, FMedSci, FRS

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Semir Zeki, Ph.D.

Semir Zeki, FMedSci, FRS

April 16, 2024
11:00 a.m.
- 12:30 p.m.

CNLM Colloquium Series
Join the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM) for an online event featuring Dr. Semir Zeki, professor of neuroaesthetics at University College London. This event will be held virtually via Zoom.
The science of beauty
The experience of beauty is something that we all seek and are prepared to expend considerable energy and much money in trying to acquire. But what does it entail neurobiologically? If it is a subjective experience, can it ever be measured? Are there, or can there be, any set of characteristics that render objects beautiful, irrespective of culture and upbringing?
I will address these questions from a neurobiological perspective. I will show that there cannot be a single characteristic or a single set of characteristics that can render any and every object beautiful because of the way in which our brains are organized to perceive the world. I will also show that there are, in the perception of different attributes such as visual motion, faces and bodies, criteria which are not culture or education bound which can be said to enhance their beauty and to be critical to the experience of beauty when viewing them. Finally, I will show that all works that are experienced as beautiful, regardless of source (i.e. whether visual or musical or highly cognitive – as with mathematical beauty), have, as a correlate, activity in a specific part of the reward system of the emotional brain, although the neural route used to reach that part of the brain varies, depending on what is perceived. The intensity of activity there bears a quantitative relationship to the declared intensity of the experience of beauty, thus enabling us to detect and quantify the neural correlates of a subjective experience.


April 16, 2024
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Who Should Attend?:

Host Organization

Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
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Herklotz Conference Center
300 Qureshey Research Lab
Irvine, CA United States
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