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Progress in Brain Research

Julia F Christensen, Antoni Gomila
Empirical aesthetics in general, and neuroaesthetics in particular, have been very much influenced by Berlyne's psychobiological program. For him, aesthetic appreciation involved the brain's reward and aversion systems. From this point of view, art constitutes a set of potentially rewarding stimuli. Research has certainly made great advances in understanding how the process of artistic valuation takes places, and which brain circuits are involved in generating the pleasure we obtain from artistic practices, performances, and works...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Julia F Christensen, Antoni Gomila
The preface briefly present the motivation of the issue, and introduces the papers that compose the volume.
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Jiajia Che, Xiaolei Sun, Víctor Gallardo, Marcos Nadal
Cross-cultural empirical aesthetics seeks to determine whether the psychological processes underlying aesthetic preference are universal. Here we provide a critical review of the field's origin, development, and current state. Our goal is to evaluate the evidence and separate what is actually known from what is only assumed. We conclude that the evidence shows that people from different cultures base their aesthetic preference on a common set of formal features, including symmetry, complexity, proportion, contour, brightness, and contrast...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Rory Allen, Pamela Heaton
All creative activity brings about change, since it results in the production of something that did not previously exist. The act of creation is itself influenced by changes that have been previously brought about by others, including previous acts of creation. As with any human behavior, creativity has both biological and cultural aspects and is therefore influenced by biological as well as cultural evolution. However, biological evolution operates slowly and over a much longer timescale than cultural evolution, and change occurring within a human lifetime must be driven by cultural and social, rather than biological processes...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Antoni Gomila, Julia F Christensen
There has been a controversy on the moral import of music and art in general. On the one hand, the moralist view contends that there is some sort of link between art and morality, even if the way to specify this link may be highly diverse. It comprises most of the classical views of art, from Schiller's view of the role of artistic education in moral development, to any view that declares a form of art as corrupt or degenerated, or enlightening. What it is assumed minimally in all of them is that the moral import of an artwork contributes to its aesthetic value...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Sophie De Beukelaer, Ruben Azevedo, Manos Tsakiris
According to Aby Warburg, the aesthetic experience is informed by a pendulum-like movement of the observer's mind that allows him to immerse as well as to take distance from the artwork's composing elements. To account for Warburg's definition, we are proposing embodied simulation and associative processing as constitutive mechanisms of this pendulum-like movement within the aesthetic experience that enable the observer to relate to the displayed artistic material within aesthetic spaces. Furthermore, we suggest that associative processing elicits constructive memory processes that permit the development of a knowledge within which the objects of art become part of memory networks, potentially informing future ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving in real-world situations, as an individual or collectively...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
William P Seeley
It has recently been suggested that research in neuroscience of art has failed to bring art into focus in the laboratory. Two general arguments are brought to bear in the regard. The common perceptual mechanisms argument observes that neuroscientists working within this field develop models to explain art relative to the ways that artworks are fine-tuned to the operations of perceptual systems. However, these perceptual explanations apply equally to how viewers come to recognize and understand art and nonart objects and events...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Robert Pepperell
Recent years have seen a growing interest among neuroscientists and vision scientists in art and aesthetics, exemplifying a more general trend toward interdisciplinary integration in the arts, humanities, and sciences. However, true art-science integration remains a distant prospect due to fundamental differences in outlook and approach between disciplines. I consider two great challenges for any project designed to explain the role of the brain in art appreciation. First, scientists and artists need to identify common ground, common questions, and a shared motivation for inquiry...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Camilo José Cela-Conde, Francisco J Ayala
The competence for appreciating beauty appears to be a human universal trait. This fact points out to a phylogenetically derived capacity that, somehow, evolved by means of natural selection. To detail how this evolutionary process took place is difficult to determine, because appreciating beauty is an elusive capacity, impossible to be detected in the fossil record. However, efforts have been made to understand the main characteristics of such competence, particularly by means of the advances of neuroaesthetics...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Ernest Mas-Herrero, Mikko Karhulahti, Josep Marco-Pallares, Robert J Zatorre, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells
A small percentage of healthy individuals do not find music pleasurable, a condition known as specific musical anhedonia. These individuals have no impairment in music perception which might account for their anhedonia; their sensitivity to primary and secondary rewards is also preserved, and they do not show generalized depression. However, it is still unclear whether this condition is entirely specific to music, or rather reflects a more general deficit in experiencing pleasure, either from aesthetic rewards in general, or in response to other types of emotional sounds...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Frank E Pollick, Staci Vicary, Katie Noble, Naree Kim, Seonhee Jang, Catherine J Stevens
How the brain contends with naturalistic viewing conditions when it must cope with concurrent streams of diverse sensory inputs and internally generated thoughts is still largely an open question. In this study, we used fMRI to record brain activity while a group of 18 participants watched an edited dance duet accompanied by a soundtrack. After scanning, participants performed a short behavioral task to identify neural correlates of dance segments that could later be recalled. Intersubject correlation (ISC) analysis was used to identify the brain regions correlated among observers, and the results of this ISC map were used to define a set of regions for subsequent analysis of functional connectivity...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Blanca Spee, Tomohiro Ishizu, Helmut Leder, Jan Mikuni, Hideaki Kawabata, Matthew Pelowski
Recent developments in neuroaesthetics have heightened the need for causative approaches to more deeply understand the mechanism underlying perception, emotion, and aesthetic experiences. This has recently been the topic for empirical work, employing several causative methods for changing brain activity, as well as comparative assessments of individuals with brain damage or disease. However, one area of study with high potential, and indeed a long history of often nonscientific use in the area of aesthetics and art, employing psychopharmacological chemicals as means of changing brain function, has not been systematically utilized...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Pablo P L Tinio, Andreas Gartus
Although emotions are some of the most discussed aspects of the experience of art, we know very little about what emotions people experience during aesthetic encounters. In this chapter, we used emotional heat maps-a novel approach to characterizing art viewers' aesthetic responses to art-to examine the following research questions in two museum studies: (1) What emotions do people experience after encounters with art, and how intense are these emotions? (2) To what extent do museum visitors experience the same emotions to a particular exhibition or artwork? and (3) To what extent is there a correspondence between the emotional characteristics of an art exhibition or artwork and the emotions that viewers experienced? Results showed that there was fairly good agreement among viewers regarding the emotions that they experienced in response to a particular artwork or exhibition and that there were correspondences between art viewers' emotional responses and the emotional characteristics of the exhibition or artwork that they viewed...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Gesche Westphal-Fitch, W Tecumseh Fitch
Bioaesthetics, an exciting new branch of aesthetics, examines the evolutionary origins of aesthetics in humans and other animals. We suggest that aesthetics is a multicomponent faculty and discuss certain traits that are shared with other species. We discuss Richard Prum's theory that aesthetic signal and audience are joined in a coevolutionary loop: one by necessity shaping the other. We discuss its implications for aesthetic phenomena as diverse as sexual selection, domestication, and cuisine. In addition to biologically evolved aesthetics, we emphasize that humans possess culturally coevolved aesthetics, which helps explain the unusual variability of aesthetic domains across human cultures...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Louise P Kirsch, Emily S Cross
Understanding how action perception, embodiment, and emotion interact is essential for advancing knowledge about how we perceive and interact with each other in a social world. One tool that has proved particularly useful in the past decade for exploring the relationship between perception, action, and affect is dance. Dance is, in its essence, a rich and multisensory art form that can be used to help answer not only basic questions about social cognition but also questions concerning how aging shapes the relationship between action perception, and the role played by affect, emotion, and aesthetics in social perception...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Töres Theorell, László Harmat, Helene Eriksson, Fredrik Ullén
To what extent do childhood experiences of music practice influence thinking about music later in life? In this contribution, 27-54-year-old monozygotic twins discordant with regard to piano playing in life were interviewed about music experiences during childhood and adult years. Recordings of heart rate variability were performed continuously during the interviews which were done separately with playing and nonplaying cotwins. Random factors had determined whether the twin chose to play or not. The rationale behind using monozygotic twins was that this offered a possibility to account totally for genetic influence...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Dahlia W Zaidel
Art is expressed in multiple formats in today's human cultures. Physical traces of stone tools and other archaeological landmarks suggest early nonart cultural behavior and symbolic cognition in the early Homo sapiens (HS) who emerged ~300,000-200,000 years ago in Africa. Fundamental to art expression is the neural underpinning for symbolic cognition, and material art is considered its prime example. However, prior to producing material art, HS could have exploited symbolically through art-rooted biological neural pathways for social purpose, namely, those controlling interpersonal motoric coordination and sound codependence...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Dilini K Sumanapala, Jon Walbrin, Louise P Kirsch, Emily S Cross
Studies investigating human motor learning and movement perception have shown that similar sensorimotor brain regions are engaged when we observe or perform action sequences. However, the way these networks enable translation of complex observed actions into motor commands-such as in the context of dance-remains poorly understood. Emerging evidence suggests that the ability to encode specific visuospatial and kinematic movement properties encountered via different routes of sensorimotor experience may be an integral component of action learning throughout development...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Sandra E Trehub, Laura K Cirelli
Across cultures, aspects of music and dance contribute to everyday life in a variety of ways that do not depend on artistry, aesthetics, or expertise. In this chapter, we focus on precursors to music and dance that are evident in infancy: the underlying perceptual abilities, parent-infant musical interactions that are motivated by nonmusical goals, the consequences of such interactions for mood regulation and social regulation, and the emergence of rudimentary singing and rhythmic movement to music. These precursors to music and dance lay the groundwork for our informal engagement with music throughout life and its continuing effects on mood regulation, affiliation, and well-being...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
Francesca Siri, Francesca Ferroni, Martina Ardizzi, Anna Kolesnikova, Marcella Beccaria, Barbara Rocci, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Vittorio Gallese
Nowadays, works of art can be enjoyed in both their original and reproduced format. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the format of a work of art could influence physiological and cognitive responses in beholders. Two abstract works of art and their digital reproductions were selected as experimental stimuli and displayed for 2min to 60 participants in a museum. HRV, HR, and RMSSD were recorded, while participants observed the works of art. Subsequently, participants provided behavioral ratings of color intensity, emotional intensity, aesthetic evaluation, perceived movement, and desire to touch the works of art...
2018: Progress in Brain Research
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