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Interesting New Autism Research

[ 12 ] November 7, 2013

A new research article, published online for the journal Nature, shows that infants who were later diagnosed with autism spent significantly less time focusing on people’s eyes than infants who were not later diagnosed. Warren R. Jones and Ami Klin, of Emory University, co-authored the paper. The New York Times recently ran a feature on the research, which discusses the implications for early brain development and improvements in autism diagnostics.

If you’d like to look at how this line of research potentially relates to some broader theory in the field of autism research, one book to check out is Mindblindness by Cambridge psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, which connects autism to “theory of mind.” I imagine Baron-Cohen would make the case that reduced eye-directed gaze in autistic infants supports his theory, though, like all psychopathlogy, the mechanisms of autism are little understood and the theories are controversial.

CUriosity3 Seminar Program Fuses Art and Science

[ 2 ] October 2, 2013


CUriousity3 is a new public seminar program housed at Columbia University in New York City, addressing the “intersection between art and science with a view to start interesting discussions and debate around the common ground of creative practice and scientific discovery.”

The series kicked off on Monday night with an intriguing conversation between stem cell biologist Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic and biological artist Oron Catts, who synthesizes his art from living cell cultures. The evening consisted of presentations by each expert, followed by an open discussion with a moderator and an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

The next two events in the series are as follows:


SfN is Looking for Brain-Inspired Artists

[ 2 ] September 30, 2013

The Society for Neuroscience is seeking artists and craftsmen whose work is inspired by the brain and the nervous system to sell or just exhibit their paintings, sculpture, multimedia, or crafts at the annual meeting, to be held later this fall in San Diego.

As they describe it, “This is a chance to sell to a crowd of more than 30,000 researchers, doctors, technicians, writers, and professors from across the neuroscience world.”

This is the second year of the Art of Neuroscience exhibit, and last year, the exhibit included the gold leaf creations of Greg Dunn and jewelry by Kathleen Childress. Reports from conference organizers were that “all the artists were very well received and not only sold many pieces on-site, but took custom orders.”

SfN representatives advise that space is limited and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. The annual meeting is Nov. 9-13 at the San Diego Convention Center.

To find more information or to fill out an exhibit application, you can visit

Burning Brain-Controlled-Brain

[ 0 ] July 11, 2013

A group of crafty artists are currently building a 15-foot brain to be controlled by participants’ EEG signals, via a portable headset, which will transmit information to LED lights and flame-shooting rods embedded within the brain structure, creating a feedback loop with the participant. The giant sculpture is to be unveiled at this year’s Burning Man.

The group has an Indiegogo campaign underway, and you can read more at Boing Boing.

Subjective Resonance Imaging: an International Brain/Art Gallery Show at HBM 2013

[ 2 ] May 23, 2013

Show poster – click to enlarge

We are excited to announce that we’ve partnered with the Neuro Bureau to organize a major group show exploring the brain through art, entitled Subjective Resonance Imaging, to be held in Seattle from June 16-20, in conjunction with the 2013 Human Brain Mapping conference. The show will feature many of the artists we’ve presented here at The Beautiful Brain, including Greg Dunn, Katherine Sherwood, Elizabeth Jameson, Constance Jacobson, Andrew Carnie, Jason Snyder, and many more. There will also be a thorough show catalogue we will be publishing, featuring images of all the artwork in addition to essays and interviews with thought leaders in neuroaesthetics.


From the exhibition press release, available as a PDF:

Seattle, WA— A new breed of art exhibition is rolling into town—one that takes shape in the heart of a scientific conference about mapping the human brain, a pursuit perhaps never more in vogue than we find it today.

According to cognitive scientist Pierre Bellec, who helped organize Subjective Resonance Imaging, “The exhibit offers a prism for both playful and thoughtful reflection. These artworks provide us with useful concepts and metaphors as we delve further into the unique aspects of human brain function and grapple with the meaning of brain mapping. It is our hope that this collection will contribute to the ongoing dialogue between artists and the neuroimaging community as we converge toward a shared landscape of inquiry.”

From Nina Sellars, working in Australia, who creates mixed reality pieces that integrate links to digital scans of her own brain, to Julia Buntaine, working in New York City, whose sculpture provides conceptual footholds to grasp metaphors of brain structure and function, Subjective Resonance Imaging finds artists at this interdisciplinary vanguard working with a wide range of materials and thematic interests.

Noah Hutton, founder of the online magazine The Beautiful Brain and curator of Subjective Resonance Imaging, says, “This is a band of explorers who have all shone their light on the vast and uncharted realms of the human brain; their maps may be more subjective, but they are cartographers nonetheless.”

The show asks timely questions about the borders between art and science, subjective and objective images, and the source of self-knowledge. It is accessible to the public and will be open daily from June 16-20, in the lobby of the Washington State Convention Center, and was made possible by generous contributions from Frontiers, the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative, Max Planck Institute, Child Mind Institute, the University of Montreal, Canada, and The Instituto do Cérebro do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 

2013 Brain Art Competition Announced

[ 12 ] April 10, 2013

This just in from the Neuro Bureau, who organize the annual Brain Art Competition, as well as a bunch of other projects around the philosophy of “open neuroscience.” Here’s the text announcing the open call for submissions to the competition:

Countless hours are devoted to the creation of informative visualizations for communicating neuroscientific findings. The Brain-Art Competition aims to recognize this often unappreciated aspect of the publication process, and highlight the artistic creativity of our community.

We are inviting researchers to submit their favorite unpublished works for entry. Both team and single-person entries are welcomed. The competition will have five award categories:

– Best Representation of the Human Connectome

– Best Abstract Brain Illustration

– Best Humorous Brain Illustration

– Best Video Illustration of the Brain

– Special Topic: Best Visualization of Probabilistic Connectivity

The ‘Special Topic’ is a new addition to this year’s competition that highlights an important challenge in current connectomics research: visualizing the uncertainty of 3D connections in tractography and functional connectivity data.

Submission Deadline: 11:59PM CDT, Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Award Notification: June 17th during the Neuro Bureau gala event, held at the OHBM Annual Meeting in Seattle.

For more information, check out the competition details and submission form at:

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