Live Chat Tomorrow: “Do the Arts Make Us Smarter?”

At 3pm EST, Thursday, March 14, Science magazine will be running a free live chat called Do the Arts Make Us Smarter?, exploring the effects of arts education on the brain. Moderated by Science staff writer Emily Underwood, guests will be Daniel Levitin, who runs the Lab for Music Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University, and Keith Oatley, a psychologist at the University of Toronto who studies the effect of fiction on our emotions.

What sorts of questions will they answer? How about: Does learning the violin actually increase IQ or translate to better grades? Can drawing help students learn geometry? What other benefits can the arts provide, both in and beyond the classroom?

For those of you can’t tune in live, it will be archived on that same web page.

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World Science Festival: Why We Tell Stories

Watch the video below. What do you see?

If you are like most people (117 out of 120 in the original study), these shapes tell a story. Humans are primed to see a narrative, even when the characters involved are shapes. We experience pleasure “even watching this really rudimentary fiction,” said Dr. Jonathan Gottschall at a World Science Festival event. Dr. Gottschall’s work explores the connections between science and the humanities.

Dr. Gottschall was joined at the event, “Why We Tell Stories: The Science of Narrative,” by novelists Jeffrey Eugenides and Joyce Carol Oates, psychologists Keith Oatley and Paul Bloom, and moderator Jay Allison.

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