Please Explain: Neuroaesthetics

Friday, May 31, 2013

Neuroaesthetics is an emerging field of studying art through neuroscience to find out what it is about certain works of art that moves us. David Freedberg, the Pierre Matisse Professor of the history of art at Columbia University, and Neuroscientist Ed Vessel, research scientist at the NYU Center for Brain Imaging, explain what happens in our brains when we see artwork that we find beautiful and what the neuroaesthetics is revealing  how we look at art and the mind. 


David Freedberg and Ed Vessel

Comments [6]

Peter from 11th Street, NYC

I've had experience working with pre-schoolers in small intimate venues at Carnegie Hall. Chinese classical quartets were not an acquired taste. The children went into intense, no-talk, no-movement listening mode. They did the same with Western classical quartets, often a less pursued mode among Western classically minded adults. The four and five year olds were listening to something from a new sensual universe, and as strangers gave it welcome. We are not talking about specially trained children. There was no concert etiquette being imposed. In fact, they were sitting on the floor, very close to the instruments. Based on plenty of experience, I find that extreme listening mode doesn't disappear until they reach their pre-teens, at which point peer pressure trumps all, and one has to appeal to some kind of cool factor, which may persist into adult life, and may require acculturation where there had once been extreme engagement.

May. 31 2013 02:25 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Would your guests like to comment on synaesthesia?

May. 31 2013 01:53 PM
antonio from baySide

I remember from art school, the renaissance began with discovery of "contraposto" in illustrations, paintings and sculpture...
Why didn't other cultures at the same time discover that as well...
Needless to say because of the that impression in art school it took me a long while to appreciate art that wasn't realistic or un-flat...Thankfully today I can appreciate the aforementioned drips. I guess I see the movement and dynamism in them?

May. 31 2013 01:51 PM
Mick from Inwood

Can neuroaesthetics explain why people claim to have different aesthetic experiences when they know a work is created by a famous/great artist than when they do not know who produced it. The visual stimulus and so the experience must be the same regardless of the name. But many people seem to value authenticity of the creator over the quality of the creation.

May. 31 2013 01:49 PM
dan k from park slope

so wouldn't you say then, that if each individual's experience of art is so subjective, that what's worth discovering in art is the more objective, or universal qualities, which pluralities agree make a work great or not. aesthetic qualities are subjective not only to the individual, but to the time, and are thus far less relevant when qualifying works as being worthy of our study and veneration

May. 31 2013 01:40 PM

useful reading....

May. 31 2013 01:34 PM

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