講演者：石津智大さん（University College London）
講演タイトル："Neuroaesthetics –Beyond mere beauty"
講演概要：Neuroaesthetics does not try to explain beauty. Rather, it seeks to enquire into a more limited question which can be summarised thus: what does the experience of beauty imply in neural terms? In this talk, I will briefly summarise the outcomes so far in this field. I then show that there is a single neural characteristic which is important in the experience of beauty, namely activity in a well-defined area of the emotional brain, the medial orbitofrontal cortex. This area is active whenever subjects – regardless of age, ethnicity, and cultural background - report an experience of beauty.
Although beauty is thought to be a pleasurable and positively valenced experience, it could also be experienced with a negative valence, e.g. sadness. We wanted to know how the brain works with such a seemingly contradicting experience of positive aesthetic experience and negatively valenced emotion. I show a study in which we studied the neural mechanisms that are engaged during the experience of beauty derived from sorrow (negative valence) by comparing to that derived from joy (positive valence) in relation to brain’s regional activity and inter-regional connectivity.