May 01, 2017

Julio Bermudez, associate professor, architecture, was quoted in a Texas Architect story on the relationship between the mind and the environment.  

... While architects have, for millennia, instinctively integrated in worship spaces design elements that evoke the sublime, this has been almost impossible to demonstrate empirically. However, with advances in brain imaging, researchers are beginning to do just that. Associate professor of the Catholic University of America and presenter at the most recent three ANFA conferences, Julio Bermudez is part of a research team that is studying the ability of architecture to induce contemplative states. His goal is to demonstrate that, if architecture is proven effective at facilitating contemplation through external methods, then it can enhance and extend the benefits of such internally driven contemplative practices as prayer and meditation.

Bermudez’s pilot study involved 12 participants who were shown images of both ordinary buildings and contemplative buildings and asked to imagine that they were physically present in those spaces while their brains were scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. All of the participants were architects, intentionally selected with the idea that they would be particularly attuned to the qualities of space and would produce stronger, and therefore more measurable, responses than the average person. ...

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