Bertarelli Symposium 2017

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Margaret Livingstone

Margaret Livingstone is the Takeda Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School whose lab is interested in how cells in the visual system process information, and in the functional organization of the visual system. She and colleagues use complementary techniques, going from psychophysics, functional MRI, to single unit recording.

Livingstone has explored the ways in which vision science can understand and inform the world of visual art. Her popular book, Vision and Art, brought her acclaim in the art world as a scientist who can communicate with artists and art historians, with mutual benefit. She generated some important insights into the field, including a simple explanation for the elusive quality of the Mona Lisa's smile (it is more visible to peripheral vision than to central vision) and the fact that Rembrandt, like a surprisingly large number of famous artists, was likely to have been stereoblind.