Invited Speaker: Cristian Zaelzer
Title: A Science-Art Reunification, using the brain to speak about science.
Note: this talk is co-hosted with CRAM (Cognitive Research at McGill)
Abstract: During the Age of Enlightenment the specialized fields of the sciences and the arts started to diverge from a unified exploration of the natural world. The division, created in an effort to identify individuals who were skilled in one field over another, eventually produced a gap between scientists and non-scientists, caused in part by the scientific method itself, and a disconnection presented through emotionality.
While the sciences moved forward with discoveries, the arts pointed to the increasing gap between the scientific questions and the ethics behind its formulation: “why?” and “should I?” The arts, through literature and cinema, contributed to this gap with the popular image of the “mad scientist.” From there, the rift between scientific communication and the general public grew even further. The increasing complexity of contemporary science, coupled to the lack of proper media translation, and scientific training in science communication, added the last ingredients to a slow-cooked cocktail that contributed to the nowadays unprecedented phenomena of science denialism.
Interestingly, psychology and cognitive neuroscience have revealed key mechanisms in behavior and brain activity that help us navigate the world through a healthy balance between logic and emotive centers. Those emotive centers set up the mood for learning, dictating the relevance of the information presented. Art, with its powerful emotive-driving force, holds the key to access those centers, and presents itself as a crucial new tool to use in this era of post-truth.
In this talk, Dr. Cristian Zaelzer, founder and director of the Convergence, Perceptions of Neuroscience initiative will discuss how emotions are the key to fill the current gap between the public, the sciences, and the arts. Zaelzer will present the work done during the pilot project of Convergence, as well as the future directions that this project is taking reverting stereotypes and gaps by the use of emotion and reasoning, which facilitates fact-based decision making.
When: April 6 at 11:45am
Where: room 735, 2001 McGill-College Avenue
Convergence―Perceptions of Neuroscience is an independent initiative that aims to inspire collaborative work between neuroscience and fine arts students. Our mission is to foster interdisciplinary thought, pushing the boundaries of what is considered science and art, and making neuroscience research accessible to a general audience. Our approach is based on the “two-way engagement” framework that promotes transversal knowledge sharing without emphasizing one side over the other.
The specific objectives for fine arts students are to learn collaborative work across different fields, integrating scientific method and promoting critical thinking within their own practice. The specific objectives for neuroscience students are to encourage collaborative work outside the scientific setting and enable effective communication of scientific ideas through innovative artistic tools that incorporate current knowledge in neuroscience and psychology basis for learning.
Convergence, Perceptions of Neuroscience is developed in partnership with the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and Concordia University Faculty of Fine Arts. It is supported by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, Visual Voice Gallery, McGill University Integrated Program in Neuroscience, and the Montreal General Hospital Foundation.