Susan Magsamen

Executive Director
International Arts + Mind Lab Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Over the last thirty-five years my work has focused on rigorous translation of basic science to guide practical applications in health, wellbeing and learning. Over the last 15 years, I have actively participated in the development of two emerging progressive fields: neuroaesthetics and the science of learning. These dynamic and evolving interdisciplinary disciplines offer the promise of rigorous research to practice and enhanced outcomes, across a range of societal issues.

My academic research at the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab), in the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has provided a collegial research and clinical community to develop a consensus framework for translational research using the arts as interventions. The Impact Thinking model represents the first scientific methods approach to systematically build efficacy in the field of neuroaesthetics. Future plans for this model include training and education to create a gold standard for translation of the arts in health, wellbeing and learning. The IAM Lab has begun extensive outreach to professional organizations including the American Psychological Association, the Brookings Institution, and the Society for Neuroscience, the Academy Neuroscience for Architecture, the International Association for Creative Arts Therapy and others to partner for the implementation of Impact Thinking.

ANFA Themes

Over the last 8 years, ANFA and I have worked together in collaboration to facilitate the expansion of the neuroarchitecture field. Interactions have included presentations on neuroaesthetics at the bi-annual conferences, co-hosting gathering at the Society for Neuroscience and engagement in health and architecture pilots. We share a strong common belief system in the vital need to build the field of neuroarchitecture, which is a close sibling of neuroaesthetics. These disciplines are rapidly becoming major forces in how we understand and think about sensory and motor system engagement in health, well-being and learning. Specifically, neuroarchitecture is influencing landscape, architecture and other design initiatives with the ideal of enhancing quality of life in residential, commercial, and educational and many other human-centered environments.

Selected Publications

Susan H. Magsamen(2018)Impact Thinking: A Research Approach to Enhance Human Potential in Health, Wellbeing and Learning through the Arts. International Arts and Mind Lab.

Susan H. Magsamen(2018) Child Art, Your Brain on Art (International Child Art Association, Special Edition).

Susan H. Magsamen(2018).The Power of Architecture to Impact Health, Wellbeing and Learning. Intertwining, 1:103-121

Brenna Hassinger-Das, Andres S. Bustamante, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Susan Magsamen, Jenny Perlman Robinson, and Rebecca Winthrop, (2018)Learning Landscapes: Can urban planning and the learning sciences work together to help children? Brookings Report.