The Mona Lisa is arguably the most famous painting in the world. Have you ever wondered why? Leonardo Da Vinci was masterful at manipulating our own visual shortcomings to make us feel something beautiful, complicated, even unsettling. There’s just something about her smile.
Dr. Margaret Livingstone, a visual neurophysiologist at Harvard, knows this all too well. I recently spoke with her about how our visual systems have evolved to process one of the inventions that sets us apart from non-human animals—art.