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Brainwave: Emotion

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Do you control your emotions or do your emotions control you?

During the ninth season of Brainwave, personalities and experts help us answer this question and understand our feelings better. Featuring unscripted on-stage conversations, immersive experiences, and film screenings, Brainwave will illuminate how the mind shapes identity and emotions with insights from science, personal experiences, and spiritual traditions reflected in the Museum’s collection.

Box Office

212.620.5000 ext 344
Monday to Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On-Stage Conversations

Parker Posey + Emma Seppälä
Wednesday, February 3
7:00 PM | $30 | SOLD OUT
How can empathy generate sustainable happiness? Find out with the help of actress Parker Posey and neuroscientist Emma Seppälä.
Tickets for this program only were made available on January 13, 2016.

The Spectrum
Sigourney Weaver + David Amaral
Monday, February 8
7:00 PM | $30
Actress Sigourney Weaver played a woman with severe autism in Snow Cake and now sees similar behavior in neurotypical people. Neuropsychologist David Amaral will help her explore the grey areas of where the autism spectrum begins and ends. Presented in partnership with The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.
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Emotional Politics
Anthony Weiner + Moran Cerf
Friday, February 12
7:00 PM | $25
Former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner learns from neuroscientist Moran Cerf the degree to which emotions trump reason in political and other decision-making processes.
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Fickle Love
Helen Fisher + Simon Critchley
Wednesday, February 17
7:00 PM | $25
Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, the author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray, explores the post-Valentine’s Day blues with philosopher Simon Critchley.
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Invention and Inspiration
Pagan Kennedy + Shawn Frayne + Ryan Frayne
Wednesday, February 24
7:00 PM | $25
Inventology author Pagan Kennedy explores the neural basis of the “eureka syndrome” with inventors Shawn and Ryan Frayne.
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Bob Mankoff + Scott Weems
Saturday, March 5
3:00 PM | $25
The New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff brings some examples of what makes us chuckle and learns what neural impulse helps triggers laughter from Ha! author and neuroscientist Scott Weems.
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Consciousness after Death
Sharon Guskin + Jim Tucker
Saturday, March 5
6:00 PM | $25
Does consciousness continue after the brain stops working? Sharon Guskin’s striking debut novel The Forgetting Time is inspired by the work of Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia. Tucker joins her for a conversation about the probability of past lives and reincarnation.
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The Brain on Spirituality
Zachary Quinto + Heather Berlin
Sunday, March 6
7:00 PM | $25
The actor Zachary Quinto learns from neuroscientist Heather Berlin how different brain states can alter our subjective experiences. Shamanism, spirituality, consciousness””this conversation will ask what is objectively “real” and what is just a fabrication of our various brain states.
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The Lyric Mind
Stephen Sondheim + Steven Pinker
Wednesday, March 9
7:00 PM | $45 SOLD OUT
The experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost experts on language, mind, and human nature Steven Pinker meets one of the world’s foremost artists and explorers of language, mind, and human nature: Stephen Sondheim.

What Emotion Smells Like
David Edwards + olfactory scientist
Wednesday, March 16
7:00 PM | $30
Inventor and Harvard professor David Edwards launches his digital scent project oNotes with the help of an olfactory neurobiologist and”¦you. Bring your smartphone and be prepared to share it with your neighbor for a swipe-and-sniff experience.
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Jacqueline Novak + a neuroscientist
Friday, March 18
7:00 PM | $25
Stand-up comedienne Jacqueline Novak marks the launch of her book How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings from One Depressive to Another with a deep conversation on depression with an expert.
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Courtney Act + Tim Pychyl
Wednesday, March 30
7:00 PM | $30
Dithering, dilly-dallying, delay tactics””Tim Pychyl is the leading authority on why we put off until tomorrow what might be so easily accomplished today. The author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle sits down with drag artist Courtney Act to help her stop sabotaging her best intentions.
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Elizabeth Hand + Carl W. Bazil
Friday, April 1
7:00 PM | $20
It might be obvious why gothic novelist Elizabeth Hands suffers from sleep disorders, but she’ll receive some additional insight from Columbia University sleep psychologist Carl Bazil.
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Food and Innovation
Questlove + Stuart Firestein + a chef of note
Monday, April 25
8:00 PM | $45
In his new book somethingtofoodabout, The Roots drummer Questlove takes an enthusiastic tour of the state of creativity in American cuisine. On stage at the Rubin he will explore with neurobiologist Stuart Firestein what emotional states allow for the greatest creativity, and they and you get to taste what emotion creativity evokes in you.
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Waiting Rooms
Nathalie Pozzi + Eric Zimmerman
Saturdays, April 16 & 23
7:30 PM | $25

Architect Nathalie Pozzi and game designer Eric Zimmerman will prototype their newest physical game installation, Waiting Rooms, which plays on the themes of bureaucracy, immigration, economic inequality, and the systematization of contemporary life. The Rubin Museum will be transformed into a series of absurdist waiting rooms governed by a topsy-turvy social economy through which players progress in sometimes collaborative and sometimes competitive ways.
Buy Tickets 4/16 Buy Tickets 4/23

Cabaret Cinema: Emotions/Emoticons

Nine films. Nine emotions.
Fridays at 9:30 p.m.
$10; free to Rubin members

A selection of classic films, to be introduced by mind scientists and others, which pinpoint the key emotion driving the film’s narrative. Films include: Eraserhead, Le Mépris (Contempt), Hiroshima Mon Amour, The Kid, Kiss Me Kate, Rebecca, Dead of Night, A Double Life, L’amore in città (Love in the City).


Brainwave is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.