A case for understanding the interdisciplinary connection between neuroscience and art
Dr. Amy Schreier
Dr. Jamey Maniscalco
Professor Robin Hextrum
Thesis Committee Member(s)
Dr. Mark Basham
Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
The field of Neuroaesthetics has an overwhelming potential for helping us to understand the world and human behavior through consideration of both neuroscience and art. Looking at the production of art across human history, it is clear we have evolved with art as every culture has developed some style and desire for art without influence of other peoples. The intriguing and undeniable psychological phenomenon of pareidolia raises the question of why the visual system might be set up in a way that leads to illusions and visual suggestions. The amygdala is also involved as the nuclei’s reaction to perceived or imagined threats causes intense body changes. Art, as a rewarding experience, could then be seen as biologically necessary to offer some release of dopamine and a “feeling good” response. I argue that the human brain was evolutionarily designed for art. Many animals can be taught to make human-styled art using both painting and drawing techniques. Animals also make their own style of art as it is clear there is deliberate choice in the spider’s web when it comes to spatial design. In most species of birds, nest building is a learned behavior and this, coupled with the variation in nest structure, reveals the high levels of choices birds make in the design of their nest. And finally, when looking at bees and the construction of their hives, their abilities far surpass what we commonly think possible. Thus, when looking at the products of spiders, birds, and bees, these animals have aesthetic composition preferences in the design of the structures they make. Therefore, while art is not unique only to humankind, art is necessary to humankind.
Date of Award
Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)
© Risa Davis
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Davis, Risa, "THE NEUROSCIENCE OF ART: AN EXAMINATION OF UNIQUENESS" (2023). Regis University Student Publications (comprehensive collection). 1070.