Neuro Humanities Studies

Cinzia Di Dio, Vittorio Gallese,

Neuroaesthetics: a review

Year: 2009
Disciplines: Aesthetics; Phenomenology;

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Neuroaesthetics is a relatively young field within cognitive neuroscience, concerned with the neural underpinnings of aesthetic experience of beauty, particularly in visual art. Neuroscientific investigations have approached this area using imaging and neurophysiological techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG). The results produced so far are very heterogeneous. Nonetheless, an overall view of the findings suggests that the aesthetic experience of visual artworks is characterized by the activation of: sensorimotor areas; core emotional centres; and reward-related centres. In the present review, we discuss the functional relevance of these activations and propose that aesthetic experience is a multilevel process exceeding a purely visual analysis of artworks and relying upon visceromotor and somatomotor resonance in the beholder.


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