Children Participate in ‘Brain-on-Art’ Research at UH

Researchers Have Studied Dancers, Musicians and Visual Artists, as Well

Brain on Art

The University of Houston and Blaffer Art Museum will host a version of their “Your Brain on Art” series this week, collecting information about brain activity as children ages 6 and up play an art-themed game popularized by the Surrealists..

Wearing skullcaps equipped with sensors to track their brain activity, the children will play a variation of Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative, chance-based game made famous by the Surrealists in the 1920s.  

Conducted June 30, July 1 and July 2, the experiments are part of a groundbreaking collaboration between Blaffer Art Museum and the University of Houston’s Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory, seeking clues to what happens in the brain as people create and contemplate art.

Previous work has involved dancers, musicians and visual artists, part of research funded by the National Science Foundation to better understand what happens in the brain as people both make and view art. Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal, director of the lab and Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering, has worked with children in several settings, including the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Working simultaneously, each young artist will begin creating an artwork. After seven minutes, his or her work-in-progress will be covered, with only a small portion exposed. The artists rotate stations and take turns adding to the creations. Their brain activity will be projected onto a nearby screen for their parents or guardians to see.

Best times for media:         10 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Friday.

WHAT:                                Project between Blaffer Art Museum and University of Houston’s Noninvasive Brain-

                                              Machine Interface Systems Laboratory, seeking clues to what happens in the brain as

                                              people create and contemplate art.

                                              This activity will capture children’s brain activity as they play a traditional game to

                                              create artwork.

 WHEN:                                Thursday, June 30: session begins at 3:15 p.m.

                                             Friday, July 1, and Saturday, July 2: sessions at 10 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m.

                                              and 3:15 p.m.

 WHERE:                              Blaffer Art Museum on the UH campus.

 MEDIA CONTACT:            Jeannie Kever, 713-743-0778; m- 713-504-3769,