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Literary Festival 2014: How We Feel: what neuroscience can and can't tell us about our emotions


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Speaker(s): Giovanni Frazzetto
Chair: Stephan Guettinger

Recorded on 1 March 2014 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Is neuroscience better than philosophy to cope with anxiety in the face of the world’s economic crisis?

What can a brain scan or a Caravaggio painting reveal about the deep seat of guilt? Can ancient remedies fight sadness more effectively than anti-depressants? What do poetry and joy have in common? And how can experiments in mice teach us how to find a partner?

We live at a time when neuroscience is unlocking the secrets of our emotions. But can the neural script of the brain indeed tell us how we feel?

Giovanni Frazzetto takes us on a journey through our everyday lives and most common emotions. He mixes his scientific knowledge with art, literature, philosophy and personal experience to offer a set of stories that contend rationality and sentiment, science and poetry.

Giovanni Frazzetto (@BravePassion) was born and grew up in Sicily. In 1995, after high school, he moved to the UK to study science at University College London and in 2002 he received a PhD from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg. Since he was a student he has worked and written on the relationship between science, society and culture, publishing in journals such as EMBOreports and Nature.

While he was a researcher at the LSE, he was one of the founders of the European Neuroscience & Society Network and the creator of the transdisciplinary Neuroschools. Giovanni has also written short stories and plays and curated science-inspired art exhibitions.

For his transdisciplinary efforts he was awarded the 2008 John Kendrew Young Scientist Award. He now lives between London and Berlin where he works at the Institute for Advanced Study. His first book How We Feel: What Neuroscience Can -and Can't- tell us about our emotions was published by Doubleday in August 2013.

This event forms part of LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.

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