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Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Sapienza University of Rome
De profundis: aesthetics and the inner body
01 September 2019 -
30 June 2020

Salvatore Maria Aglioti is professor of Psychobiology and Psychological Physiology at Sapienza University of Rome and principal investigator at the research hospital Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome and at the Italian Institute of Technology. Trained as a clinical neurologist he has held research positions at the University of Verona and the Western University (London Ontario), and fellowships at the Institut des Sciences Cognitives (Lyon) and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University. His research at the intersection between cognitive, social and affective neuroscience is widely cited. His next book, an essay on the role of Neuroscience in society (Neurophobia : who is afraid of the Brain?, Oxford University Press) should appear at the end of 2019.

Research Interests 

Cognitive, Social and Affective Neuroscience; Expertise in sport and art; Embodied morality, Lie, deception; Body Ownership/agency in healthy/diseased people; pain perception, empathy for pain and existential neuroscience; intimate/social touch; Non-invasive brain stimulation and EEG; immersive virtual reality

De profundis: aesthetics and the inner body

My project explores the link between aesthetic experience and awareness of our own body deriving not only from exteroceptive signals (like vision or touch) but also on interoceptive signals (like those originating from internal organs, e.g. the heart) that allow us to acquire information about physiological condition of the body. The project will focus on the largely neglected role of the information coming from the gastroenteric and the respiration system. The project aims: i) to devise novel experimental paradigms for highlighting the link between the apparently ineffable experience of art fruition and our bodily states and ii) to combine data originating from exposure to objects of art and from the recording of gastric and breathing responses evoked by art appreciation. The two main innovative aspects of the proposal consist in: i) understanding the role of interoceptive signals in art appreciation above and beyond the classical exteroceptive ones and ii) deepening the exploration of the link between inner body and aesthetic experiences by moving from the analysis of heart signals to information coming from other viscera (e.g. lung, stomach, gut). This research programme may allow us to ultimately grasp deep signatures of aesthetic reactivity.

Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region