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Neuroesthetics

Foundations of Neuroesthetics: – Overview: – Neuroesthetics combines psychological research with aesthetics. – Investigates perception, production, and response to art. – Aims to find neural […]

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Foundations of Neuroesthetics:
– Overview:
– Neuroesthetics combines psychological research with aesthetics.
– Investigates perception, production, and response to art.
– Aims to find neural correlates of aesthetic judgment and creativity.
– Approaches of study:
– Researchers use principles from perceptual psychology and evolutionary biology.
– Neuroscience is considered promising for evaluating art.
– Studies involve observing subjects viewing art and exploring vision mechanics.
– Frameworks:
– Aesthetic experiences involve sensory-motor, emotion-valuation, and meaning-knowledge circuitry.
– Visual brain segregates elements like luminance, color, and motion.
– Sensory areas may be involved in evaluating visual elements.
– Evolutionary meaning of beauty:
– Neuroaesthetics seeks to address the evolutionary meaning of beauty in art.
– Neuroscience is used to quantify evaluation of art.
– General rules about aesthetics are explored through vision mechanics.
– Semir Zeki’s Laws of the Visual Brain:
– Constancy:
– Brain retains knowledge of constant properties of objects.
– Process of distilling objects in art mirrors neural function.
– Artists capture essence of objects in their work.
– Abstraction:
– Brain efficiently processes visual stimuli through abstraction.
– Art externalizes functions of abstraction in the brain.
– Process of abstraction in art remains unknown in cognitive neurobiology.

Neural Mechanisms in Aesthetic Perception:
– Areas of the brain linked to the processing of visual aesthetics:
– Aesthetic perception relies on processing by visual centers in the brain like the V1 cortex.
– Signals from V1 are distributed to various specialized brain areas.
– Visual brain has parallel multistage processing systems specialized in tasks like color or motion.
– Prefrontal cortex:
– The prefrontal cortex is known for roles in perception of colored objects, decision making, and memory.
– Recent studies link it to conscious aesthetic experience and activation during aesthetic tasks.
– The medial orbito-frontal cortex (mOFC) is involved in judgment of beauty in paintings.
– Brain responses to different artistic styles:
– Bilateral occipital gyri, left cingulate sulcus, and bilateral fusiform gyrus are activated with increased preference for art.
– Representational art activates left frontal lobe and parietal and limbic lobes.
– Left superior parietal lobule plays a role in image construction during art viewing.

Cognitive Processes in Aesthetic Experience:
– Ramachandran’s Eight Laws of Artistic Experience:
– Peak shift principle.
– Isolation.
– Grouping.
– Contrast:
– Extracting contrast involves eliminating redundant information and focusing attention.
– Visual neurons respond predominantly to step changes in luminance rather than surface colors.
– Perceptual problem solving:
– Discovery of an object after a struggle is more pleasing than an instant discovery.
– Implied meanings are more alluring than explicit ones.
– Generic viewpoint:
– Visual system dislikes unique vantage point interpretations.
– Coincidences should be avoided to please the eye.

Emotional and Behavioral Aspects in Aesthetic Processing:
– Involvement of mOFC in aesthetic, but not in perceptual, judgments:
– mOFC is activated in aesthetic judgments but not in perceptual judgments.
– Changes in intensity of activation in the orbito-frontal cortex correlate with beauty or ugliness.
– Emotions and brain areas in aesthetic processing:
– Emotional circuitry is highly activated when viewing art subjectively.
– Bilateral insula shows high activation during aesthetic viewing.
– Right fusiform gyrus activates in response to visual stimuli like faces.

Critiques and Future Directions in Neuroesthetics:
– Criticisms of reducing aesthetic experience to physical or neurological laws:
– Objections to reducing aesthetic experience to physical laws.
– Theories may not capture the evocativeness or originality of art.
– Future directions and related fields in neuroaesthetics:
– Growing interest in bridging brain science and visual arts since 2005.
– Field of neural scientific biased art historical research is expanding.
– Contemporary artists exploring convergence of brain science and painting.

Neuroesthetics (Wikipedia)

Neuroesthetics (or neuroaesthetics) is a relatively recent sub-discipline of applied aesthetics. Empirical aesthetics takes a scientific approach to the study of aesthetic experience of art, music, or any object that can give rise to aesthetic judgments. Neuroesthetics is a term coined by Semir Zeki in 1999 and received its formal definition in 2002 as the scientific study of the neural bases for the contemplation and creation of a work of art. Neuroesthetics uses neuroscience to explain and understand the aesthetic experiences at the neurological level. The topic attracts scholars from many disciplines including neuroscientists, art historians, artists, art therapists and psychologists.

Researchers are looking to neuroscience for answers behind why the human brain finds artistic works like DaVinci's Mona Lisa so alluring.
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