How Does Art Affect Your Mind?

How Does Art Affect Your Mind?

We all know that art, especially visual art, is meant to make us feel something or to understand a story through the artist’s eyes. But what does viewing or making a work of art actually do to our minds?

Arts.Mic did some research to answer this question. Arts.Mic writes that neuroscientist Oshin Vartanian found “areas of the brain involved in processing emotion and those that activate our pleasure and reward systems are also being engaged [by viewing and creating art].” A similar experiment shows that a half-hour visit to an art gallery can drastically reduce anxiety and levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Scientists in Germany also conducted cognitive research that suggests “the production of visual art improves effective interaction” between areas and parts of the brain. An experiment examining 28 individuals ranging from age 62 to 70 shows that making art could delay or even reverse the effects of the age-related decline of certain functions of the brain.

Robert Mendick of The Telegraph writes about a study done by University College London. Semir Zeki, a professor and chair of neuroaesthetics at the school at the school, wanted to see “what happens in the brain when you look at beautiful paintings.” During the experiment, a group of randomly selected adults were shown a series of paintings. The works they considered to be the most beautiful increased the blood flow sent to a certain part of the brain as much as ten percent. For reference, seeing a loved one has the same effect on a person.

No matter your age, art is a proven way to feel good and enhance your brain activity. So pick up a sketch pad and a pencil or take a day trip to a local art museum––it’ll be worth it.