Like you, sometimes, when I look at a piece of art, it’s like I am stuck in one place. Unable to move and wanting to take in as much information about the piece as I can.
I see relationships in the forms that remind me of pleasant (or unpleasant) things in my experience and try to create a narrative of these. Attempting to get at what the artist meant by constructing this particularly evocative work.
We’re not the only ones that have noticed this affect that art has on ourselves, or our brains. Among those approaching art from a psychological point of view, The DANA Foundation has been studying how art (music, painting, photography, etc…) affects the connections in our brains.
Here are a few answers and questions they have found from their research.
1. … different neural networks are involved in various forms of the arts such as music, visual arts, drama and dance. Future studies should examine the degree to which these networks are separate and overlap.
2. We also require evidence of how high motivation to pursue an art form will lead to more rapid changes in that network and must find out to what degree such changes may influence other forms of cognition.
3. The links between music and visual arts training and specific aspects of mathematics such as geometry need to be more profoundly explored with advanced imaging methods.
4. The link between intrinsic motivation for a specific art (e.g. music and visual arts) and sustained attention to tasks involving that art needs to be followed up with increased behavioral evidence and imaging methods that can demonstrate that changes in specific pathways are greater for higher levels of motivation.
5. The search for individual indicators of interest in and influence by training in the arts should continue to be examined by a combination of appropriate questionnaire research, use of candidate genes already identified and whole genome scans.
Gotta love science.
Do you know of any other resources like DANA out there doing cutting edge research? Let us know.