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Blue Chinese dragon on porcelain, Inside the Head of a Collector in black font on bright yellow box to lower right.

Inside the Head of a Collector

Neuropsychological Forces at Play

By (author) Shirley M. Mueller, MD


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  • Introduces neuro- and behavioural economics for collectors and art professions to help them understand their own decision making
  • Brings a unique collector's perspective, providing insight for art dealers, collectors, and museum professionals. Includes artworks and objects that have never been published before
  • Chronicles the exhibit Elegance from the East: New Insights into Old Porcelain, which was one of the first museum exhibits to use a neuropsychological approach
  • Examines Order of Cincinnati fakes versus authentic articles, with photos to demonstrate
Full Description

Collecting objects gives enormous pleasure to approximately one third of the population, providing such benefits as intellectual stimulation, the thrill of the chase, and leaving a legacy. On the other hand, the same pursuit can engender pain; for example, paying too much for an object, unknowingly buying a fake, or dealing with the frustrations of collection dispersal. Until recently, there was no objective way to enhance the positive (pleasure) aspects of collecting and minimise the negative (pain). Now, for the first time, scientific research in neuro- and behavioral economics gives us a way to turn this around.

Neuroeconomics is the study of the biological foundation of economic thought, while behavioral economics incorporates insights from psychology and other social sciences into the examination of monetary behavior. By using examples from these disciplines, Shirley M. Mueller, MD, relates her own experiences as a serious collector and as a neuroscientist to examine different behavioral traits which characterise collectors.

The contents of this book are cutting edge, unique and sure to get attention. Mueller breaks new ground in an area not previously explored. Her information is relevant not only for collectors, but also for colleges, and universities which teach collection management, plus museum staff who interact with collectors and dealers of objects desired by collectors. Heavily illustrated with ceramics from Mueller’s collection and packed with useful information, this book will become a required vital resource.

About the Author
Shirley M. Mueller, MD is an internationally known collector and scholar of Chinese export porcelain, as well as a physician board-certified in Neurology and Psychiatry. This latter expertise led her to explore her own intentions while collecting art, which, she discovered, are applicable to all collectors. This new understanding is the motivation for this book. Mueller not only lectures and publishes about the neuropsychology of the collector; she also was guest curator for Elegance from the East: New Insights into Old Porcelain at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (now Newfields) in 2017. In this unique exhibit, she combined export porcelain with concepts from neuroscience to make historical objects personally relevant to visitors.
Look Inside
Marquand Books
16th Aug 2019
277 mm x 222 mm
192 Pages
105 color
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