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Mirrorbox: The Story of How Art Became Science

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Video of the Week #52 July 20th, 2012:

From: Introduction to NanoLab by Christina Agapakis at Oscillator.

Source: megamayd on Vimeo.

This week’s video comes from Megan Daalder, an instructor at UCLA’s Art/Science Nanolab. Nanolab is a two-week program for high school students at the intersection of art and science. Daalder’s video tells the story about how one of her art projects morphed into an investigation into the psychology and neuroscience of empathy.



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  1. 1. panlac01 9:07 pm 07/20/2012

    suggest this as part of “therapeutic” activity to divorce-prone couples

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  2. 2. jtdwyer 2:26 am 07/22/2012

    When we allow someone to look closely into our eyes, aren’t we exposing our innermost thoughts and emotions to another person, leaving us more vulnerable to their potential manipulation?

    In areas of increased population density, which includes most cities around the world, don’t people increasingly purposely isolate themselves from the crowds of strangers that they are most often in contact with through the use of reading material and personal electronic devices, for example?

    As I understand, urban Europeans often take offense at anyone who looks at them too closely for too long. Certainly in Japan there is very little communication with others on the crowded streets.

    Don’t we all learn growing up in a crowded world populated by self-interested strangers that failure to defend our inner selves from others can lead to personal insult and injury?

    Conversely, haven’t psychiatric methods long been focused on exposing our inner selves to our self, enabling corrective self action? Perhaps the obsession with this new device is an extension of long established psychiatric self-examination.

    It seems to me that the mirror box tricks the wearer’s mind into believing she is safe, looking only into her own eyes while exposing her inner self to another – and vice versa… Perhaps there is good reason for our public defense mechanisms – perhaps they are not just constraints to improved socialization among strangers.

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  3. 3. TobyNSaunders 6:35 pm 07/23/2012

    I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that east Asian tendency is simply cultural. It’s presumably about 50% genetic (like all human behavior is). Anyway, it’s an amazing idea… it’s great that people seem positively affected.

    Link to this
  4. 4. upload70 2:53 am 10/10/2012

    Wish they had projects such as Nanolab when I was at high school. http://buysteroidsuk.co/

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