An Enlightening Conversation on Autism

An hour before a program titled “The Spectrum” began, featured participant David Amaral, Ph.D., complained that in the weeks leading up to the event, he had had trouble getting his hands on Snow Cake, a 2007 film in which Sigourney Weaver plays a high-functioning autistic woman. “I tried Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, and couldn’t find it anywhere,” said Amaral. “But I was eventually able to find the DVD on Amazon—and liked it very much.”

That’s high praise coming from one of the nation’s foremost researchers on autism. Amaral, UC Davis Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and the Beneto Foundation chair, and founding research director of the M.I.N.D. Institute, and Weaver, an acclaimed actress, film producer, and noted environmentalist, discussed autism to a sold-out audience at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan.

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Lyn Hughes Photography, courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art.

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New Brainwave Series: Emotion

Can consciousness continue after the brain stops working? Why do we seem to let emotions outshine reason during the decision-making process? Which neural impulses trigger laughter?

Rubin Museum Brainwave 2016

Detail from White Tara with Long Life Deities; eastern Tibet; 19th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art, gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1996.32.5 (HAR 542) | Copyright Taylor Walken/Corbis

Beginning in February, New York City’s Rubin Museum of Art will host its ninth annual Brainwave series, which aims to answer these questions and more. Continue reading

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