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Susan Magsamen

Director International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at
Johns Hopkins University; New York Times Bestselling Author

Susan Magsamen is the founder and executive director of the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab), Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics is a pioneering initiative at the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

All of Susan's presentations are in conjunction with Ivy Ross, the coauthor of their New York Times bestselling bookYour Brain on Art (March 2023).


Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences
and the arts—and how our unique response to the arts and aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential.

Magsamen is the author of the Impact Thinking model, an evidence-based research approach to accelerate how we use the arts to solve problems in health, well-being, and learning.


In addition to her role at IAM Lab, she is an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and serves as co-director of
the NeuroArts Blueprint project in partnership with the Aspen Institute.


Prior to founding IAM Lab, Susan worked in both the private and public sector, developing social impact programs and products addressing all stages of life—from early childhood to the senior years.

Susan created Curiosityville, an online personalized learning world, which was acquired by Houghton MifflinHarcourt in 2014, and Curiosity Kits, a hands-on multi-sensory company that was acquired by Torstar in 1995.

An award-winning author, Susan has published seven books including, The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonder, The 10 Best of Everything Families, and Family Stories.

Susan is a Fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts, and a strategic advisor to several innovative organizations and initiatives. She is also a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the National Organization for Arts and Health, the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, the American Psychological Association, Brain Futures, Learning Landscapes, and Creating Healthy Communities:
Arts + Public Health in America, among others.


Popular Topics

Your Team on Art

Did you know that 45 minutes of working on any art activity reduces stress hormones by 25 percent?


In this timely presentation, rooted in years of research and practical application, Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen share their combined experiences and content from their New York Times bestseller, Your Brain on Art.


In this customizable talk, Ivy and Susan share with audiences how to enhance work culture, build stronger collaborations, create more intuitive leaders, design optimal workplaces, increase cognition and creativity, and reduce burnout, stress, and anxiety.


The result? A happier and healthier workforce. All by practicing, participating in, and understanding the science of the arts.




What if someone told you that one or more art experiences each month could extend your life expectancy by ten years?


In this talk, Ivy and Susan focus on personal wellbeing, teaching audiences how participating in the arts can reduce stress and anxiety, build greater resiliency, deepen relationships, combat loneliness and enhance sense of belonging and increase focus and energy, through building an aesthetic mindset.


Designed for individuals who want to reach their fullest potential and live their “best lives,” this talk on the science of neuroaesthetics serves as a foundation and spring-board for simple changes that we can all make to live longer, happier, fuller, more meaningful lives.


The Neurobiology of the Arts:

Health, Community, and our Collective Future


In our evolving world, global leaders are facilitating peace talks and conflict resolution with improv theatre, multi-sensory virtual reality experiences are becoming the next frontier in chronic pain treatment, and museum visits are being prescribed by doctors to engage sensory perceptions and cognitive skills.


In this presentation, Susan and Ivy explain the science behind neuroaesthetics, and provide fascinating examples of how art and art-related activities are being used to address some of the most critical issues of our time—from mental health and trauma to community building, and from physical wellbeing to solving global challenges.


Based on their New York Times bestselling book, Your Brain on Art, the authors explore the concept of “whole health,” share astonishing (and entertaining) anecdotes and case-studies, and ask audiences to imagine what our collective future might look like if we all took a little bit of time to engage in simple art practices.

Amplifying Potential: Your Brain On Art


  • Susan Magsamen on Space and Wellbeing

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