Brain imaging reveals secrets of love, fear and betrayal

March 14, 2005

An unusual lecture highlighting the fascinating insights which brain imaging gives to the workings of the human mind is being hosted by the University of Edinburgh tomorrow (Tuesday, 15 March). The lecture, given by University of Oxford neuroscientist Professor Paul Mathews, will illuminate the parallels between the works of Shakespeare and the current search by experts to uncover the secrets of the brain.

Professor Mathews and Shakespeare scholar Jeffrey McQuain recently combined their expertise to produce a landmark book which examines some of neuroscience's most gripping questions through famous scenes from Shakespeare.

The book, The Bard on the Brain, looks at Shakespeare's themes of love, adultery, power, treachery, morality, judgement and control as found in his best-known works such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and the Merchant of Venice. It also reveals Shakespeare's portrayal of common mental illnesses such as depression through characters in Hamlet and Richard II. In his lecture, Professor Mathews, who is Professor of Neurology at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Brain Imaging, will describe what we learn about these human emotions through imaging neural activity in the brain. In parallel, scenes from several Shakespeare plays will be acted by a group of young students of Shakespeare studies.

The event, to be held at the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, is part of the worldwide events marking Brain Awareness Week and here in Edinburgh is organised by the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and the Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. Tickets are free, obtainable from Carolyn Smith on 44-131-650-4565, email Carolyn.Smith@ed.ac.uk
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University of Edinburgh

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