Image by  Frantisek Duris

The Parmenides Center for Art and Science

The Parmenides Center for Art and Science is an organizational unit within the Parmenides Foundation working in cooperation with the Human Science Center and the Institute of Medical Psychology at LMU Munich. It was founded to investigate the relation between the arts and the sciences, particularly via cognitive neuroscience and psychology.

Our leading questions are: What can the sciences learn from the arts? What are anthropological universals and what are cultural specifics that can be identified in the arts, from a scientific point of view? What can the sciences contribute to a better understanding of the arts? What perspectives does science offer on creativity in the arts and the reception of art? How can knowledge extracted from the interaction between art and science be applied in education, intercultural communication, or in rehabilitation of function after brain injury?

Our center is interdisciplinary and international – it brings together artists, scientists and representatives from other cultural domains and has created a global network. All human artistic expressions are represented in the project (painting, poetry, music etc.). An important focus of ours is on aspects of the arts that often receive less attention, such as the temporal structure of music or poetry as it is determined by mechanisms of the human brain. What are the neuronal constraints that determine artistic expressions? We believe that formal principles or logistic functions of the human brain deserve more attention in the quest to understand artistic as well as scientific creativity. The bi-directional link between art and science has been studied quite extensively over the past decades, but new and improved imaging techniques now enable a deeper understanding of what happens when we look at a painting, read a poem or hear a piece of music.

Our funding has come, among others, from Bayerisches Wissenschaftsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst, Bayerische Forschungsstiftung, Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, Andrea von Braun Stiftung, Stiftung Villigst, Institute of Cognition and Communication, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Peking University.


Director of the Parmenides Center for Art and Science

Prof. Dr. Ernst Pöppel