The Aesthetic Brain takes the reader on a wide-ranging journey addressing fundamental questions about aesthetics and art. Using neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, Chatterjee shows how beauty, pleasure, and art are grounded biologically, and offers explanations for why beauty, pleasure, and art exist at all.
The Aesthetic Animal answers the ultimate questions of why we adorn ourselves, embellish our things and surroundings, and produce art, music, song dance, and fiction. Humans are aesthetic animals that spend vast amounts of time and resources on seemingly useless aesthetic activities. However, nature would not allow a species to waste precious time and effort on activities completely unrelated to survival, reproduction, and the well-being of that species. Consequently, the aesthetic impulse must have some important biological functions. A number of observations indicate that the aesthetic impulse is an inherent part of human nature, and therefore a primary impulse in its own right with several important functions: The aesthetic impulse may guide us toward what is biologically good for us, and help us choose the right fitness enhancing items in our surroundings. It is a valid individual fitness indicator as well as a unifying social group marker, and aesthetically skilled individuals get more mating possibilities, higher status and more collaborative offers. The book is written in a lively and entertaining tone, with beautiful color illustrations. It covers a wide field of aesthetic behaviors from cave art, graffiti, tattoos, and piercings over fashion, design, music, song, and dance. It presents an original and comprehensive synthesis of the empirical field, synthesizing data from archeology, cave art, anthropology, biology, ethology, behavioral- and evolutionary psychology and neuro-aesthetics. It is a must-read for people interested in biology, psychology, anthropology, architecture, design, fashion, body culture, art, and the evolution of aesthetics.
The Arts and the Brain: Psychology and Physiology beyond Pleasure, Volume 237, combines the work of an excellent group of experts who explain evidence on the neural and biobehavioral science of the arts. Topics covered include the emergence of early art and the evolution of human culture, the interaction between cultural and biological evolutionary processes in generating artistic creation, the nature of the aesthetic experience of art, the arts as a multisensory experience, new insights from the neuroscience of dance, a systematic review of the biological impact of music, and more. Builds bridges and makes new connections between neuroscientists, psychologists and the arts world Unravels the neural, neuroendocrine, physiological, hormonal and evolutionary dimensions of the arts Contains chapters from true authorities in the field
Harry Francis Mallgrave combines a history of ideas about architectural experience with the latest insights from the fields of neuroscience, cognitive science and evolutionary biology to make a powerful argument about the nature and future of architectural design. Today, the sciences have granted us the tools to help us understand better than ever before the precise ways in which the built environment can affect the building user's individual experience. Through an understanding of these tools, architects should be able to become better designers, prioritizing the experience of space - the emotional and aesthetic responses, and the sense of homeostatic well-being, of those who will occupy any designed environment. In From Object to Experience, Mallgrave goes further, arguing that it should also be possible to build an effective new cultural ethos for architectural practice. Drawing upon a range of humanistic and biological sources, and emphasizing the far-reaching implications of new neuroscientific discoveries and models, this book brings up-to-date insights and theoretical clarity to a position that was once considered revolutionary but is fast becoming accepted in architecture.
"Literature matters," says Paul B. Armstrong, "for what it reveals about human experience, and the very different perspective of neuroscience on how the brain works is part of that story." In How Literature Plays with the Brain, Armstrong examines the parallels between certain features of literary experience and functions of the brain. His central argument is that literature plays with the brain through experiences of harmony and dissonance which set in motion oppositions that are fundamental to the neurobiology of mental functioning. These oppositions negotiate basic tensions in the operation of the brain between the drive for pattern, synthesis, and constancy and the need for flexibility, adaptability, and openness to change. The challenge, Armstrong argues, is to account for the ability of readers to find incommensurable meanings in the same text, for example, or to take pleasure in art that is harmonious or dissonant, symmetrical or distorted, unified or discontinuous and disruptive. How Literature Plays with the Brain is the first book to use the resources of neuroscience and phenomenology to analyze aesthetic experience. For the neuroscientific community, the study suggests that different areas of research—the neurobiology of vision and reading, the brain-body interactions underlying emotions—may be connected to a variety of aesthetic and literary phenomena. For critics and students of literature, the study engages fundamental questions within the humanities: What is aesthetic experience? What happens when we read a literary work? How does the interpretation of literature relate to other ways of knowing? -- G. Gabrielle Starr, New York University
Humans have engaged in artistic and aesthetic activities since the appearance of our species. Our ancestors have decorated their bodies, tools, and utensils for over 100,000 years. The expression of meaning using color, line, sound, rhythm, or movement, among other means, constitutes a fundamental aspect of our species' biological and cultural heritage. Art and aesthetics, therefore, contribute to our species identity and distinguish it from its living and extinctrelatives. This volume brings together the work on such questions by leading experts in genetics, psychology, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, art history, and philosophy. It sets the stagefor a cognitive neuroscience of art and aesthetics, understood in the broadest possible terms. With sections on visual art, dance, music, neuropsychology, and evolution, the breadth of this volume's scope reflects the richness and variety of topics and methods currently used today by scientists to understand the way our brain endows us with the faculty to produce and appreciate art and aesthetics.
The Aesthetic Mind breaks new ground in bringing together empirical sciences and philosophy to enhance our understanding of art and the aesthetic. An eminent international team of experts explores the roles of emotion, imagination, empathy, and beauty in this realm of human experience, discussing visual and literary art, music, and dance.
The Aesthetic Impulse explains aesthetic as describing a significant area of the school curriculum that would include but not be confined to the creative arts. Organized into 10 chapters, this book begins with a discussion on arts education. Subsequent chapters explain art, sensibility, aesthetics, and the vernacular principle. The concept of arts education as cultural education, which means responding to the young's needs to generate individual and group identity, is also described. Other chapters explore the aesthetic curriculum and assessment of aesthetic development.