Subtitle/Alternate Title

A case for understanding the interdisciplinary connection between neuroscience and art

First Advisor

Dr. Amy Schreier

Second Advisor

Dr. Jamey Maniscalco

Third Advisor

Professor Robin Hextrum

Thesis Committee Member(s)



Dr. Mark Basham


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis University

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

71 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

Spring 2023

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.