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“The Mona Lisa’s Mysterious Smile” by Prof. Colecchia

In the second conference of 6th February 2013, entitled “The Mona Lisa’s Mysterious Smile”, an ethological model of the smile is developed to explain the genesis and function of this signal, which in the painting changes inexplicably under the gaze of the onlooker. The phenomenon is described using the cyclic attractor of dynamical systems.
The empirical data that emerges from this research demonstrates that the ineffable ambiguity of the Mona Lisa is a typical special effect of a strategic expedient used by the artist. He has, in fact, superimposed, in a single anatomical configuration of the smile, two contiguous emotional states linked with the pattern of the eyes. The transition from one state to the other is activated by the cyclic attractor.
In this case too, therefore, the inventor of the astounding machines succeeded with his paintbrush in creating a perceptual trap that inevitably ensnares the onlooker’s attention.
Nicola Colecchia, neural psychologist and former lecturer in General Psychology at the University of Bologna and the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Chieti, has conducted specific research on the biological bases of aesthetic taste and on the processes of the “automatic processing” of visual and multisensory information.
Using the neural network model, he has demonstrated that the success or oblivion of an artwork are determined by biopsychic mechanisms underlying the cultural and stylistic stratifications of the work itself.
He currently supervises Synapticart, a laboratory for the optimization of visual and multisensory systems.

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