KEYNOTE: Anjan Chatterjee, MD, FAAN
Professor and Chair of Neurology; Pennsylvania Hospital


Anjan Chatterjee is the Frank A. and Gwladys H. Elliott Professor and Chair of Neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital. He is a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his BA in Philosophy from Haverford College, MD from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his neurology residency at the University of Chicago. His clinical practice focuses on patients with cognitive disorders. His research addresses questions about spatial cognition and language, attention, neuroethics, and neuroaesthetics.

He wrote The Aesthetic Brain: How we evolved to desire beauty and enjoy art and co-edited: Neuroethics in Practice: Mind, medicine, and society, and The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience: behavioral neurology and neuropsychology. He is or has been on the editorial boards of: American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience, Behavioural Neurology, Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, Neuropsychology, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, European Neurology, Empirical Studies of the Arts, The Open Ethics Journal and Policy Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology.

He was awarded the 2002 Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology by the American Academy of Neurology. He is a founding member of the Board of Governors of the Neuroethics Society, the past President of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, and the past President of the Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology Society. He serves on the Boards of Haverford College, the Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and Universal Promise. 

Talk Details

The neuroscience of aesthetics 

Slides | Video

What can neuroscience possibly teach us about aesthetics? In this talk, I will offer a framework from which a neuroscientist might decompose aesthetic experiences and frame questions experimentally. Fundamental to aesthetic experiences are the interactions between sensori-motor, emotional-valuation, and meaning-knowledge systems.

I will discuss findings from neurology and cognitive neuroscience that reveal neural structures and networks engaged in our response to beauty and in other aesthetic encounters. Central to this enterprise is the goal of uncovering the biology of aesthetic experiences and how these experiences influence our interactions in the world.