Jay Cross
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The Joy of Living in Berkeley
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I just received an invitation to the Fifth International Conference on Neuroesthetics in Berkeley next month. This year's topic is the Flavors of Experience. "Please join us as internationally renowned scientists and artists discuss the brain’s responses to such things as gourmet food, fine wine and aromatic perfumes."

Understanding how chocolate, champagne or Channel No. 5 can elicit intense reactions and enhance long-term memories promises to guide scientists in their research of how pleasure centers and the memory system in the brain are connected. Likewise, chefs, vintners and perfumers can learn from scientists how our brains respond to their products.

At the day-long conference, speakers will range from Yale University’s Dana M. Small, an expert in how the brain processes flavor, to San Francisco Zen Center’s Ed Epse Brown, a priest, cook and author.

Last year's conference on empathy in the brain and in art was one of the more meaningful days of 2005 for me.

By the way, the conference is free.


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