A Psychological Exploration of How Art Works with Professor Ellen Winner


Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Ellen Winner, PhD (Director of the Arts and Mind Lab, Boston College) discusses 5 key findings from her book, “How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration” and how can science help us understand the human response to art.

In this webinar, Dr. Winner will discuss: 


  • Why is art so hard to define?
  • Could the question be to ask is not "what is art" but "when is art"? 
  • Why do we seek out art with painful content (sad, tragic, scary, disgusting)?
  • Could your kid really have done that? (abstract art)
  • Do we judge art more by the end product or what we believe about the process by which it was made? 


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About the Speaker

Ellen Winner

Ellen Winner is Professor of Psychology at Boston College and Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education. She directs the Arts and Mind Lab, which focuses on cognition in the arts in typical and gifted children as well as adults.

Currently Working On

Professor Winner is currently working on a book on the history of arts education in the United States from Colonial times until today, called "The Uneasy Place of the Arts in American Schools". The research focuses on whether narratives (as compared to factual text) can change attitudes in the greater direction of justice and empathy for marginalized groups.

Favorite Pieces

Picasso, Head of a Woman - 1932


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