Detail of Arise by Amanda Sage
Art can heal us, inspire us, and alter our brain chemistry
With so much talk about the evidence of the positive effects of yoga and meditation, you might be surprised at what scientific research also says about how art effects the brain. Long before modern neuroscience, artists were creating works to inspire people and today complex brain imaging scans can show us just how art changes the physiology of our brains. Contemplation, observing, and taking in beauty all stimulate pleasure centers within the brain while increasing blood flow by up to 10% in the medial orbitofrontal cortex. This can lead to an elevated state of consciousness, wellbeing, and better emotional health.
"The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel good sensation direct to the brain."
– Professor Semir Zeki, chair in neuroaesthetics at University College London
Mirror Neurons are neurons that fire both when a person acts and when the person observes the same action performed by another. This brings us back to a very basic concept in human evolution which involves modeling. When you observe a profound piece of art you are potentially firing the same neurons as the artist did when they created it thus making new neural pathways and stimulating a state of inspiration. This sense of being drawn into a painting is called “embodied cognition”.
"Art accesses some of the most advanced processes of human intuitive analysis and expressivity and a key form of aesthetic appreciation is through embodied cognition, the ability to project oneself as an agent in the depicted scene,"
– Christopher Tyler, director of the Smith-Kettlewell Brain Imaging Center
Read full article @ Uplift
#art #meditation #consciousness