Listen to Your Ingredients

“For a marinara like this, the San Marzano tomato, grown on the hills of the volcano above Naples, Vesuvius, is about the best.”

That was just part of the advice offered up by Lidia Bastianich, who was recently featured at the Rubin Museum during the museum’s Brainwave series. The Italian-born American chef and psychobiologist Gary Beauchamp, PhD, explored the link between the brain and cooking in “What’s the Secret to a Great Home-Made Sauce.”


Photo credit: Asya Danilova

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Tickets on Sale for Brainwave 2017: Perception


Photo credit: Adam Ferguson

Tickets are now on sale to the public for the Rubin Museum of Art’s 2017 Brainwave series on perception. Based in New York City, this series, which runs from January 25 – April 29, pairs scientists and artists, celebrities, and other personalities for talks on topics related to the program theme.

As described on the Rubin Museum’s website:

“The tenth season of Brainwave will help us better understand the limits of our perception, allowing us to change our brains, unshackle ourselves from the past, and unleash creativity, growth, and inspiration.”

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Facial Cues and the Brain

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As human beings, we can tend to be a little judgmental–sometimes without even realizing it. When we first meet someone, our brains are busy processing facial features, body language, personality traits, etc., within milliseconds of just saying “hello.” So what characteristics make us assume certain things about people we just meet, and can these unconscious first impressions really change the way we perceive someone?

Expanding on this topic, neuroscientist Jon Freeman, Ph.D., spoke to a room crowded with eager listeners as the featured guest in the latest event from the Secret Science Club. As director of the Social Cognitive & Neural Sciences lab at New York University, Freeman devotes all of his research to understanding “split-second social perception”—that is, how our brains use subtle facial cues, personality traits, and emotion to instantly categorize others into social groups. With the help of brain imaging technology (fMRI), electrophysiology (EEG and ERP), and real-time behavioral techniques, Freeman is able to study activity within the brain in hopes of learning more about the phenomena of snap judgments.

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How Expectations Influence Human Behavior

Hello, my name is Simon Fischweicher, and I’m a fantasy nerd. In high school I outlined an entire epic fantasy series filled with fairies, centaurs, talking raccoons, and demi-gods. I’ve spent an entire day watching all three “Lord of the Rings” movies in a row. And, I love George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” or “Game of Thrones” as it is more commonly known because of the HBO television series adaptation. So naturally, when I heard Peter Dinklage, the actor who plays Tyrion Lannister on “Game of Thrones,” would be speaking at one of the Rubin Museum’s Brainwave events, I had to go.

The event, titled “The Actor,” showcased a conversation between Peter Dinklage and Dan Ariely, Ph.D., James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University. Their discussion focused on the illusions, expectations, and perceptions created by actors, but also branched into other areas, such as a behavioral discussion of lying and Dinklage’s frustration with the film industry’s demeaning attitude toward roles for little people.

The Actor2

(Credit: Michael Palma for The Rubin Museum)

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Kandel and Wiesel Talk Memory

Last Sunday, two Nobel Laureates, Eric Kandel and Elie Wiesel, oscillated brilliantly between emotion and reason while discussing memory at the 92nd Street Y.

In neuroscience circles, Kandel, a Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member, gained acclaim in 1965 for his groundbreaking work with the California Sea Slug Aplysia by showing how the classical conditioning of an organism leads to the intercellular rearrangement of its neurons. As a pioneering researcher committed to discerning the intercellular basis of learning and memory, he was a perfect complement to Wiesel’s humanistic perspective on memory.

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