Beauty Is in the Brain of the Beholder

Posted on February 11, 2014

There are few things more personal than one's aesthetic taste. When you really connect to a piece of art or music, it touches something deep inside. It moves you in a way that often escapes words. But what's going on in your brain when you are moved like this?

This question is explored in a study undertaken by researchers from NYU and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. 16 participants were placed in fMRI scanners and randomly showed 109 unknown colored artworks. Study participants were instructed to rate the works, on a scale of 1 to 4, according to how much each piece "moved" them personally.

The study revealed that when a participant gave a piece of art the highest rating of 4, there was a strong correlation to the activation of that participant's Default Mode Network (DMN). By contrast, when a participant gave a lower rating between 1 and 3, this corresponded to a suppression of that participant's DMN.

The correlation between highly rated artwork and DMN activation suggests that certain pieces of art "resonate" with an individual's sense of self, and that this resonance can be identified through a well-defined physiological response.

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Source material from Brain Blogger

Mental Health News