The Tenth International Conference on Neuroesthetics

The Tenth International Conference on Neuroesthetics

When: Saturday, May 26th and Sunday, May 27th 2012
Where: 150 Stanley Hall, University of California, Berkeley

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Registration at is free but required for admittance
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Play behavior is not only the origin of our cultural ingenuity, but is intimately linked to the shape and function of that most ingenious feature of our biology, our brain. According to the social brain hypothesis, our large human brains have evolved to deal with the increasing complexity that characterizes the social life of primates. It is not only our ability to maintain different relationships with large numbers of people that makes unprecedented cognitive demands, but the sophisticated forms of play behaviour that facilitate such bonds – ritual, dancing, singing and laughter. Neuroscientists have begun to unravel how play affects brain maturation, social competency, impulse control and stress reduction, how it engenders positive emotions by stimulating endorphins and dopamine, the role of mirror neurons in collective enactments of joy, or the effect of rough-and-tumble play in increasing dendritic arborization in the orbito-frontal cortex, which is involved with cooperation and social competency.

We aim to highlight the importance of play as a fundamental expression of humanity, chart its ontological significance and stake out the role of play in the 21st century, while indulging in some play ourselves!

Speakers
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Isabel Behncke
Primatologist,
Oxford University
Title of Talk: ‘Adaptive Joker Hypothesis’
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Professor Marc Bekoff
Emeritus Professor of Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado
Title of Talk: ‘Animals at Play: Why Joy and Fairness are the Names of the Game’
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Shakti Belway
Human rights lawyer
Title of Talk: ‘Play as a Social and Political Catalyst’
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Professor Margaret Boden
Research Professor of Cognitive Science,
University of Sussex
Title of Talk: ‘Play, Art and Creativity’
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Baba Brinkman
Rapper and Playwright
Title of Talk: ‘Wordplay: From Chaucer to Darwin to Dr. Dre’
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Dr Stuart Brown
Director of the National Institute for Play
Title of Talk: ‘From Play to Innovation: Play as a Long-Term Survival Necessity’
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Dr Scott Eberle
Vice-President for Play Studies, The Strong
Editor, The American Journal of Play
Title of Talk: ‘Playing with Multiple Intelligences’
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Christopher Hobbs
Bafta-nominated Production Designer
Artist
Title of Talk: ‘The Playful Eye’
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Jeff Hull
Founding Director of the Jejeune Institute
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Professor Nicholas Keynes Humphrey
Emeritus Professor of Psychology,
London School of Economics
Title of Talk: ‘Dreaming as Play’
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Dr Beau Lotto
Reader in Neuroscience
Director of LottoLab, University College London
Title of Talk: ‘Seeing the Light’
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Dr Mark Moffett
Entomologist,
National Museum of Natural History
Title of Talk: ‘Ants as Complex Beings: Seriousness and Play Among the Insects’
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Professor Anthony Pellegrini
Professor of Educational Psychology,
University of Minnesota
Title of Talk: Object Use in Childhood: Development and Possible Functions
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Professor Sergio Pellis
Professor of Neuroscience,
University of Lethbridge
Title of Talk: A Playful Brain Makes for a More Adaptable Brain
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Dr Phillip Prager
Lecturer – Designing Digital Play,
IT University of Copenhagen
Research Associate, Minerva Foundation
Title of Talk: ‘Play and the Avant-Garde: Aren’t We All a Little Dada?’
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Please visit us at http://www.minervaberkeley.org for further information.

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