20-23 september 2017. Pécs - Hungary
Satellite events
Edges of Neurosciences (University of Pécs-Faculty of Medicine)
Edges of Neurosciences (University of Pécs-Faculty of Medicine) 2017-09-19 - 09:00-21:00
Venue: Other Location
Inaugural meeting of the Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries, University of Pecs


Attila Sik 
University of Pécs, Univerity of Birmingham

9:00 - 12:00
The Beauty and the Brain
Chaired by Dr. Emil C. Toescu, Neuroscientist and Academic Program Lead for the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences course, University of Birmingham UK; Vice chair of the to be established Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries, University of Pecs
Location: Dean's Room

The Beauty and the Brain

Joan Miró said that “art is the search for the alphabet of the mind.” In recent years, there have been many scientific investigations into art, exploring what actually happens in the brain during the creative process, but also during the experiencing of art. These studies have revealed that much of the behaviour related to creating or experiencing art can be linked to brain activity in specific areas, and various methodologies, from electrophysiological to imaging approaches, are being used in labs worldwide, with the goal to explore brain mechanisms corresponding to the artistic experience. The evidence regarding the neural correlates underlying the aesthetic experience has even led to the emergence of an entire field of research: neuroaesthetics, proposed by S. Zeki more than a decade ago. The field is evolving continuously, and this symposium would like to review some of these developments. In addition to presenting the neural correlates of the aesthetic experience (Zeki), another talk will look at the evidence linking mirror neurons activity to the automatic empathetic response triggered by images and works of art (Freedberg), illustrating the direct experiential understanding of the intentional and emotional contents of the images presented. Imagination, the capacity to generate images in the ‘mind’s eye” is an essential element of engaging with art, and the implications of the neurological assessment of the rare cases of aphantasia (Zeman) provide another level of understanding of the artistic engagement. Despite the brain's key role in mediating human experience, we have relatively few examples of artistic representations of brain mechanisms and functions. The work of some contemporary artists (Aldworth) can be seen as representing an alternative entry point to neuroscience through works that resulted from a direct interaction with the biological material and which asks questions the nature of the self and of the interface between body and mind.

12 - 14:00 lunch break

14:00 - 17:00
Lightbulb moments in the brain (Neuroscience and Creativity)
Chaired by Prof. Attila Sik, Neuroscientist and Director of the soon to be established Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries, University of Pecs

Location: Dean's Room

Creativity is a complex phenomenon with a number of neurobiological, cultural, evolutionary, sociological variables interwoven and it is central to the arts, sciences and everyday life. Identifying the forces that drive cultural accumulation and how creative impulses and mechanisms interact with the environment to generate culture is critical to our understanding of the emergence of human modernity, the changing rate of cultural evolution over time, and the variability in cultural complexity among modern human groups. Creativity is considered mainly as a human phenomenon, that is a starting point of the cultural evolutionary process. Psychology, philosophy,  neuroscience, business management and many other disciplines  are interested in the process of creativity, which brain areas are involved in creative processes, the link between creativity and brain diseases, how it has been developed during human evolution, what distinct role does creativity play in the process of cultural evolution, whether creativity is a unique human feature, and how creativity is managed in multidisciplinary collaborations to name a few intriguing questions.

The symposium brings together experts from various disciplines to discuss creativity from evolutionary, phylogenetic, neurological and interdisciplinary research management angle in order to start a genuine multidisciplinary discourse on art, creativity and brain function. 

This special symposium comprises speakers from neuroscience and non-neuroscience field as it represents a multidisciplinary approach to discuss creativity.


Paintings by: Rebecca Iwatts

18:30 - 21:00
The spoken word on neuroscience - a round table debate with a Q&A session
Participants: radio broadcast/podcasters from Hungary, Romania, Britain and X...

Location: Dean's Room

Neurosciences in the Media

Chaired by Dr. Emil C. Toescu, Neuroscientist and Academic Program Lead for the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences course, University of Birmingham UK; Vice chair of the soon to be established Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries, University of Pecs

 The common purpose of Science communicators– from scientists or journalists is to increase the level of science literacy of the public, so that they could become more active participants in the political, social and cultural discourse. Whereas science is universal and without borders, the socio-cultural dimension is local and the journalists are usually best placed to capture, reflect and engage with that zeitgeist.

One important question is whether science journalism has a special status, since the science it reports on is dynamic a self-correcting process, based on a set of objective data, and these facts might justify the need for a closer copy-scrutiny by the specialist scientists. And if that is the case, who then has the ultimate editorial control? And when conflicts arise, who then are the science journalists serving: their public audience or the science (or the scientists)? Certainly answering such questions needs to take into account the local conditions: the strength of the local science, the trust the scientists enjoy in their society, the level of science literacy in the general population.

Another topic that will be discussed in this workshop will be a comparison of the various media channels used by science journalism. All speakers are coming from national broadcasting corporations, with direct production experience in either radio or TV. In the current media world, all the traditional broadcasting channels are supplemented by access to social networks. Many (neuro)scientists interested in science communication do have a strong social network presence, and it will be interesting to hear from professional journalists the impact these social networks have on promoting science and, particularly, neuroscience.

The symposium and workshop will be linked to and complemented with artworks (NEURART) created by established artists, arts students and scientists displayed at the surrounding of the conference site and in the corridors/hallways to draw attention of the public to the symposium and science.