A Neurotrip through archaeology, art and museums

This project aims to break new ground in the study of the past and museum collections, in between ancient and modern mind, by approaching research questions at the intersection of the brain sciences, humanities, archaeology, art, philosophy, aesthetics, and visual studies.

The main goal is to investigate and evaluate the cognitive impact of archaeological artefacts (empirical and digitally reconstructed) in different scales and through different technologies. Thus, portable EEG devices (computer-based), virtual and outdoor eye tracking systems are used to acquire biometric data and virtual headsets, holographic screens, and digital desktop simulations are used to engender embodied simulation.

Psychophysical means and visual thinking strategies are also employed to empirically measure perceptual judgments of scale, distance, symbols, colors, and shapes in real and virtual contexts.

In fact, in neuroarchaeology, the goal is to re-interpret the past by studying the human mind through empirical and virtual stages of observation. For example, the observation of an archaeological excavation, an artefact, a monument or a museum generates multiple affordances, at conscious and unconscious level. In this realm of interaction, the perception of space is the interpretation key.

This study has the twofold goals (1) to prototype immersive virtual reality that enable the digital recreation and visualization of ancient artefacts and museum objects and (2) to pilot the assessment of the perceptual, proprioceptive, motor, and cognitive impacts as users enter, explore, and engage real and virtual scenarios.

Experiments are conducted in labs, museums and archaeological sites.  The first experimental research started in September 2021 thanks to the collaboration between Duke University, University La Sapienza and the National Etruscan Museum of Rome.

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