Ep. 10: Your Mind on Art & Beauty
Does abstract art leave you feeling in awe or annoyed? Art can provoke powerful experiences, making one feel overcome by the experience of beauty. Are there beauty universals based in evolution and biology, or is beauty in the eye of a culturally conditioned beholder?
In this episode of Minds Matter, Beth and Ava enter the fray to examine what neuroscience and psychology can add to the debate on aesthetics.
Academic Articles & Books
The Default Mode Network and aesthetic experience: Vessel, E., Starr, G. and Rubin, N., 2021. The brain on art: intense aesthetic experience activates the default mode network.
Brain activity in the creation of art: Kaimal, G., Ayaz, H., Herres, J., Dieterich-Hartwell, R., Makwana, B., Kaiser, D. and Nasser, J., 2017. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy assessment of reward perception based on visual self-expression: Coloring, doodling, and free drawing. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 55, pp.85-92
Brain & Art: Zaidel, D., 2014. Creativity, brain, and art: biological and neurological considerations. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8.
Lesions and brain damage effects on art: Zaidel, D., 2010. Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution. Journal of Anatomy, 216(2), pp.177-183.
Review of neuroaesthetics: Chatterjee, A., & Vartanian, O. (2014). Neuroaesthetics. Trends in cognitive sciences, 18(7), 370-375.
People prefer art they think is made by humans: Ragot, M., Martin, N., & Cojean, S. (2020, April). AI-generated vs. Human Artworks. A Perception Bias Towards Artificial Intelligence?. In Extended abstracts of the 2020 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 1-10).
Top-down and bottom-up processes: Pelowski, M., Markey, P. S., Forster, M., Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2017). Move me, astonish me… delight my eyes and brain: The Vienna integrated model of top-down and bottom-up processes in art perception (VIMAP) and corresponding affective, evaluative, and neurophysiological correlates. Physics of Life Reviews, 21, 80-125.
Creativity in aesthetic experience: Ramachandran, V. S., & Hirstein, W. (1999). The science of art: A neurological theory of aesthetic experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6(6-7), 15-51.
Lighter Reading & Other Resources
Wheatfield with Crows, Vincent van Gogh (https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0149V1962)
Hand axe, or the first art work according to Denis Dutton
The art instinct: Beauty, pleasure, & human evolution, by Denis Dutton
The Evolution of Beauty, by Richard Prum *
* we said we weren't not sure whether he talks about how this theory can apply to humans -- but he definitely does in this book!