New Warburg project at the intersection of sciences and humanities

Thursday 15 September 2016

World expert on psychology and cognitive neurosciences Professor Manos Tsakiris (left), has been named as the first recipient of the Nomis Foundation Award for Distinguished Scientists and Scholars, and will lead and develop the Body and Image in Arts and Sciences (BIAS) project at The Warburg Institute, part of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.

A recipient of the 2014 Young Mind and Brain Prize and of the 22nd Experimental Psychology Society Prize, Professor Tsakiris is currently professor of psychology at Royal Holloway University of London. The BIAS project is a major investment by the Nomis Foundation and involves him building a research team and neuroscience lab hosted at Warburg.

The research will build on his highly inter-disciplinary approaches – also an integral aspect of the institute – which uses a wide range of methods to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms that shape the experience of embodiment and self-identity.

The BIAS project aims to address timely research questions at the intersection of sciences and humanities. ‘Its particular focus will be on the biological mechanisms and cultural factors that shape our relations to other people in a culture powered by images,’ said Professor Tsakiris.

In line with Warburg director Professor David Freedberg’s commitment to building bridges across the boundaries between the humanities, arts and sciences, BIAS will seek to forge new and innovative synergies across the disciplines.

Professor Tsakiris studied psychology at Panteion University, Athens, and philosophy at King’s College, London before completing his PhD in psychology and cognitive neurosciences at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. He has published widely in multidisciplinary and neuroscientific journals. His research has attracted much interest from the scientific community and from the media, appearing in major international news channels.

‘In bringing together a unique range of methodological techniques and procedures, Professor Tsakiris and his team will contribute – thanks to the generosity of Nomis – to a new and unprecedented expansion of Aby Warburg’s vision of a deeper knowledge of the role of biology in the understanding of culture and cultural history,’ said Professor Freedberg.

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Notes for editors:
1. For all enquiries, please contact: Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8859 / maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk

2. The Warburg Institute is the premier institute in the world for the study of cultural history and the role of images in culture. It is cross-disciplinary and global. It is concerned with the histories of art and science, and their relationship with superstition, magic, and popular beliefs. Its researches are historical, philological and anthropological. It is dedicated to the study of the survival and transmission of cultural forms – whether in literature, art, music or science – across borders and from the earliest times to the present. In setting out the historical, psychological, anthropological and political dimensions of art and culture, the work of Aby Warburg underlines the continuing relevance of the humanities today.

3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015. Officially opened in 1995 by Sir Anthony Kenny as a federation of the University of London’s research institutes, it has established itself as the UK’s national humanities hub, publicly funded to support and promote research in the humanities nationally and internationally. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2013-14, SAS: welcomed 743 research fellows and associates; held 2,081 research dissemination events; received 26.4 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 202,891 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. Find out more at www.sas.ac.uk or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. Its members are 18 self-governing member institutions of outstanding reputation, and nine research institutes. Learn more about the University of London at http://www.london.ac.uk

5. Professor Manos Tsakiris studied psychology (Panteion University, Athens) and philosophy (King’s College, London) before completing his PhD (2006) in psychology and cognitive neurosciences at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL. In 2007 he joined the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, where he is currently Professor of Psychology. His research is highly inter-disciplinary and uses a wide range of methods to investigate the neurocognitve mechanisms that shape the experience of embodiment and self-identity. He is the recipient of the 2014 Young Mind and Brain Prize  and of the 22nd Experimental Psychology Society Prize. He has published widely in multidisciplinary and neuroscientific journals. His research has attracted much interest from the scientific community and from media around the world, appearing  in major international news channels such as Reuters, BBC, The Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Figaro, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Scientific American.

6. NOMIS is a private foundation based in Zurich, Switzerland supporting insight-driven scientific endeavors across all disciplines with a unique emphasis on researchers, their openness to new ideas, their pioneering spirit, and their ability to inspire the world around them. NOMIS funds dedicated pioneers who lead basic or foundational research that involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. Find out more at www.nomisfoundation.ch.