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How Does The Brain Respond to Art?

Art on the Brain

Ever wonder why you like a certain work of art, and someone else doesn’t? Why do you gravitate toward a particular color, yet a friend hates it? Well, there’s an emerging field of science that may explain why you have preferences about art.

“Neuroaesthetics” is now being studied at Johns Hopkins University, applying aspects of neuroscience to help understand our response to art. Yet, this approach is considered simplistic and controversial by some experts.

The research team set up a two-part experiment to measure how people respond to different surface curvatures in three-dimensional shapes like sculptures. Findings indicated that the majority of participants preferred softly curving shapes instead of pointy and elongated ones. But why?

For the second part of the experiment, participants viewed images while using a MRI scanner. As they viewed the softly rounded forms, there was a stronger neural response in the visual cortex. The researchers are still interpreting the findings, but may have identified a brain response related to how soft curves remind us of living organisms. Perhaps we favor these shapes because they suggest human and food shapes.

Naysayers point out that a broad use of the verb “like” is highly subjective and may encompass complex influences in our lives and history. The researchers counter that claim by saying that everything we know and remember and want and fear resides in our brain. Maybe when we view certain artworks, it elicits deeply rooted feelings in our brain.

The neuroscience behind Thync is similar – tapping into our brain’s inherent ability to shift how we feel. Maybe we should take stroll through a favorite art gallery while Vibing and see how we “like” certain art.

Read more about art and your brain here.

Jeff Edwards