The science of art

Mostly HarmlessMostly Harmless wrote on 28 Jun 2012 12:47

I'm one of those people who enjoys music, paintings, etc for their own sake, but I also think understanding the science underlying what we as humans find compelling only adds to my appreciation of any form of art. I don't really understand why people think understanding the ways art pushes our buttons in pleasurable ways is disheartening. I get that it can seem reductionist, but reductionism isn't eliminitivism; understanding a deeper level doesn't make the higher level any less real or meaningful. In the case of art, understanding the underlying triggers to my response only increases my enjoyment of the raw experience since I get to enjoy the art, yet I also get to enjoy the fact that I understand what is going on and the simple joy that comes from the fact that it is possible to understand what makes us human.

With that in mind I wanted to link to something I referenced way back in the AWTR thread at BSN now that I found the original story again. It explores the science behind some ways music can convey emotion. The story is heavy on the use of Adele to explore the point, but even if you're not a fan of hers you can get something out of it. The short example from Stevie Wonder doubled my enjoyment of a song I already love.

http://www.onthemedia.org/2012/feb/17/how-music-conveys-emotion/
(Note: you need javascript enabled to see the link to play the actual NPR story).

In a similar vein, I'd also like to recommend a book I read recently that explores the neuroscience that underlies stage magic and illusion.

http://www.sleightsofmind.com/

Anyway, I figured I'd open a new thread to explore these links, and any others people can bring together on the subject.



Start a new sub-thread

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