I wish I was there...at the conference on neuroesthetics at the Berkeley Art Museum held earlier this month, I mean.
“Emotions in Art and the Brain.” was the theme of this year's session.
North Coast Cafe readers may remember my earlier post, The Chagall That Took My Breath Away in which I tried to describe the visceral experience I had in the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
I knew I was on to something when I started exploring the somatic influence of music and art. But I didn't know there were people holding conferences.
Damn! Wish I'd been there.
This is from the Washington Post.:
If you stick people into a machine that does functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI -- a brain scan, in layman's terms) and then show them paintings they find beautiful, you can see certain characteristic bits of their brains going wild with delight -- or so suggests the recent research of Semir Zeki, an eminent neuroscientist at University College London who's recently also become a leader in neuroaesthetics. The brain shows a slightly different response to ugliness, including stirring up motor centers that also buzz when someone's angry.
Other neuroaestheticians...are looking at the creative act from the point of view of those who participate in it. Her team combined brain scans with survey-style tests that are sometimes used to measure human creativity and found that the creative types who did well on the tests also had trademark patterns of brain activity.
[They] went on to do genetic testing on these same people, focusing on the areas in the human genome that code for such mood-altering brain chemicals as serotonin and dopamine, which seem likely to affect creative skills. [They] discovered that the creative, high-scoring testees had genetic kinks in common in just these areas. ...the work hints that even something as obviously culture-bound as art might not be all nurture and no nature.