How Art Stimulates the Brain

How Art Stimulates the Brain

May 14, 2022 — Travel day and that’s stimulating enough for my brain, I’m taking a journey to Hawaii today! That said, how art stimulates the brain is well worth knowing because when your mind is stimulated you feel and think better. That’s worth its weight in gold and makes art a practical purchase. I’ll let the Artful Gents talk more about how art stimulates the brain. It’s well worth the read!

How art stimulates the brain is a circuitous journey!
Taking a Journey, early mixed media by Lauren Forcella, (not on website).

From the Artfuls, How art stimulates the brain: 

Every time you gaze at a work of art, your brain is working hard to process the visual information you are receiving. In addition to your brains ability to make sense of what we are seeing, your brain is actually going through changes when you are looking at a piece of fine art. The parts of the brain that are activated while looking at a piece of visual art are different from the ones that are activated when producing and processing language.    Show Source Texts

Specifically, engaging in visual arts has been found to activate distinct parts of the brain, distinct from those that are taxed with logical, linear thought; and, yet another study found that visual arts activated different, specialized visual areas of the brain. Studies credit producing visual art with increasing functional connections within the brain, as well as increased activation of the visual cortex. While many people believe, and have proven, that viewing artwork increases the neural connectivity in the brain.    Show Source Texts

Studying the effects of art on the brain may result in positive advances in technology, which may bring treatments to neurological injuries or disorders. Evidence from brain studies is just one reason why learning about and engaging with the visual arts is good for your education. Research has shown that arts cultivate neural systems that yield a wide variety of benefits, ranging from motor skills to creativity and improved emotional equilibrium.    Show Source Texts

The arts aid cognitive function in the brain through completing a variety of projects requiring motor skills and touch processing. Learning and creating with touch helps brain connections that cannot occur through only the sensory systems of vision and hearing. These sensory experiences help younger students learn more, understand different ideas and concepts better, and making art can boost kids brain development.    Show Source Texts

Visual arts help kids connect between different subjects and ideas so they are better able to comprehend things. Any art class, particularly ones that incorporate a process-based or research-based approach, is good for kids brain development.    Show Source Texts

Understanding how to view the arts allows for maximum enjoyment from the experience while keeping your brain active and engaged. The more time you devote to analysing a work of art, the better able you are to stimulate the functions of the unconscious as well as conscious brain.    Show Source Texts

Your brain gets in a flow state while creating art; worries are put to one side while focusing on the details of the art that you are creating. Getting lost in thoughts when creating helps your brain and body relax, also leading to reduced stress and better health. In this way, creating art has been shown to build mental and emotional resilience, making you more resilient to stress.    Show Source Texts

In another study, cognitive neuroscientists found that creating art reduced cortisol levels, which is an indicator of stress, and that people could induce a positive psychological state with the help of art. Researchers have likened creating art to exercising for the brain, even suggesting that just as exercising physically helps the body, creating art can help to keep the mind sharp and clear long into old age. This study suggests that making art can benefit those who are dealing with medical conditions that trigger the reward pathways in the brain, such as addictive behaviors, eating disorders, or mood disorders, researchers wrote.    Show Source Texts

By better understanding the network of the brain that is activated by viewing or creating art, advances could be made in arts therapies, which are commonly used to treat mental illnesses. Neuroscientists are continuing to uncover clues about how the mental and physical activities required to engage with the arts are so critical for brain function. While we can only speculate as to what motivates us to begin making art, current studies are helping us to figure out some of what is going on in our brains as we are seeing it now.    Show Source Texts

Neuroesthetics A With recent advances in the sciences of biology, cognition, and neuroscience, new forms of evidence are emerging on the relationship between art and the brain. Neuroesthetics uses brain imaging, brainwave technology, and biofeedback to collect scientific evidence of how we react to art.    Show Source Texts

Today, relevant research depends on ever-sophisticated brain-imaging techniques, including TMS and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which maps blood flow and oxygenation throughout the brain. Girija Caimal, EdD, an associate professor at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, leads a group using fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) to measure blood flow to brain regions associated with rewards as research participants completed various artistic designs of regions of the brain associated with rewards. In fact – researchers found that when the 26 participants were making arts, the blood flow in brain reward centers increased. Neuroscientists and an art historian monitored the brain activity of the 10 subjects, finding that a painting depicting Adam stimulated an area of the primary motor cortex, which controls an observers wrist.    Show Source Texts

Recently, neuroscientists and an art historian asked ten subjects to look at details on Michelangelos wrists in the painting Expulsion from Paradise, and–using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)–monitored what was happening in their brains. When viewing the artwork, a significant rise occurred in brain delta-wave connectivity, which is linked to an individuals decision-making process and sustained attention. Your brains reward pathways are activated when you engage in artistic activities such as doodling, according to new research from Drexel University.    Show Source Texts

The reasons for thinking that art and language depend on distinct pathways in the brain can be gleaned from a few different ways. The weight of evidence thus favours the view that art is a multiprocess activity, a task dependent upon multiple brain regions and the redundant nature of art-related functional representations, not a single cerebral hemisphere, region, or pathway. The lack of changes associated with art after brain injury to artists would suggest both redundancy in functional representations and multi-regional processing. Some seemingly art-related deficits arising after brain damage are not unique to artists.    Show Source Texts

Neither the functional specializations of the left nor the right hemispheres, or of specific brain areas, or regions, explain the cognition associated with the arts. Researchers have said creative activities help to create connections within the brain, strengthening cognitive reserves, or brain toughness, which then protects against memory loss.    Show Source Texts

Creating art alleviates stress, promotes creative thinking, increases brain plasticity, and confers other mental health benefits. Art activities like painting, sculpture, drawing, and so on, help an individual to relax, decreasing stress levels, leaving a sense of accomplishment. From extremely realistic portraits to abstract collections of rectangles, looking at art stimulates the brain and puts our natural talent for organizing patterns and making sense of shapes to work.    Show Source Texts

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Lauren Forcella

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About Lauren Forcella

Painting nature is my way of being devotional to this beautiful planet we’ve been born to. I strive to bring onto the canvas the livingness, aliveness, and wildness of this wonderland we call Earth… Read More

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