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#SfN16 Preview: Artful Strokes + Soulful Sounds = Healthier Brains? By Patricia Izbicki

By Patricia Izbicki

In the recent past, there has been a great divide between the sciences and arts. However, recent studies are uncovering the connections between science and art and their importance to healthy and productive lives. It seems the Renaissance women and men were onto something! With the rise of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) as well as art and music therapy, scientists, clinicians, educators, and society are beginning to realize the importance of both disciplines working together to improve health and education. As someone who is both a musician and neuroscientist in training, I am thrilled that both disciplines are gaining national attention and being represented on such a high-level platform such as Society for Neuroscience!

There are two opportunities to learn about and discuss neuroscience and the arts:

On Sunday, November 13 from 8:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M., a symposium titled Neuroscience of Music: Novel Discoveries and Their Implications in the Understanding of Music and the Brain will discuss the implications and importance of the neuroscience of music for the discussion of new, thought-provoking ideas. Experts in the areas of neuroscience and music include Dr. John Iversen, Dr. Nina Kraus, Dr. Daniel Levitin, and Dr. Elizabeth Stegemöller, who will speak on topics including music and neuroplasticity, music and neurochemistry, and the biology of auditory learning.

On Tuesday, November 15 from 3:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M., an advocacy forum open to the public titled Art, Music, and the Brain: How the Arts Influence Us from Youth to Maturity will tackle the role and influence of art and science in human creativity, productivity, and health. The panel will consist of neuroscientists, artists, and educators including Dr. Kenneth Elpus, Dr. Ping Ho, Dr. Nina Kraus, Dr. Daniel Levitin, and Dr. Bill Martin.

As Einstein once said: “All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom” (Out of My Later Years). So, make your way to each of these sessions to learn from these leading experts about the role of the arts not only in the neurohealth and neuroeducation of society but also in the enrichment of your own life. I hope to see you there!

Image credit (Brain image by _DJ_ CC-BY-SA; headphones by Adamantios CC-BY-SA)

Any views expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of PLOS.

Izbicki_HeadshotPatricia Izbicki is a neuroscience doctoral student at Iowa State University. She is a classical pianist and harpsichordist, and is interested in understanding the effects of music on the brain and nervous system.

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