Week 2 Response: Neural Networks and Neuroesthetics

During last week’s lecture the topic of the neurobiological study of art came up.  I think what fascinated me the most about this topic was the idea that the neural networks stimulated when artists are in practice,  are similar to those during the recollection of past events. Essentially, when an artist is in practice, he/she relies on the repetition of memory and of past experiences. This almost instantly started to make me wonder if the same neurological processes are implemented when viewing art rather than doing it? Is it the same in that  the repetition of memory is also implemented?

With these and many more questions and searches online, I stumbled across a topic that seemed to give a somewhat explanation to my questions behind the neuroscience of viewing art: neuroesthetics. According to wiki, “neuroesthtics is an attempt to combine neurological research with aesthetics by investigating the experience of beauty and appreciation of art on the level of brain functions and mental states.” More importantly, such investigations showed that during one’s critique of art and it’s aesthetic appeal, a person’s prefrontal cortex (see image below) is stimulated.

This section220px-OFC of the brain also happens to be the area known for its roles in memory. So just as one uses the same neural networks in creating art as those in remembering past life events, the same part of  the brain is also used in art appreciation.

But this makes sense when thinking about perspective. To me, art implementation and appreciation has a lot to do with the person’s perspective. The way one sees art or even creates it is, to me, heavily based on their perspective and the way they want to see and create a certain piece or even they way they want to see other pieces of art. Furthermore, a person’s perspective is often times generated based on the paradigms of past life events and the environment they currently and formerly lived in. So to say that art and memory are directly related neurologically makes sense in that memory is often implemented in the creation and appreciation of art and the perspective unique to that individual.

-Dahlia Dominguez

Site used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroesthetics

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