Aesthetic Science: Connecting Minds, Brains, and Experience

ISBN : 9780199355808

Arthur P. Shimamura; Stephen E. Palmer
424 Pages
155 x 234 mm
Pub date
Nov 2013
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What do we do when we view a work of art? What does it mean to have an "aesthetic" experience? Are such experiences purely in the eye (and brain) of the beholder? Such questions have entertained philosophers for millennia and psychologists for over a century. More recently, with the advent of functional neuroimaging methods, a handful of ambitious brain scientists have begun to explore the neural correlates of such experiences. The notion of aesthetics is generally linked to the way art evokes an hedonic response-we like it or we don't. Of course, a multitude of factors can influence such judgments, such as personal interest, past experience, prior knowledge, and cultural biases. In this book, philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists were asked to address the nature of aesthetic experiences from their own discipline's perspective. In particular, we asked these scholars to consider whether a multidisciplinary approach, an aesthetic science, could help connect mind, brain, and aesthetics. As such, this book offers an introduction to the way art is perceived, interpreted, and felt and approaches these mindful events from a multidisciplinary perspective.


1. Toward a Science of Aesthetics: Ideas and Issues
Arthur P. Shimamura
Part I: Philosophical Perspectives
2. The Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, Psychology, and Neuroscience: Studies in Literature, Visual Arts, and Music
Noel Carroll, Margaret Moore, & William P. Seeley
3. Aesthetic Theory and Aesthetic Science: Prospects for Integration
Vincent Bergeron and Dominic McIver Lopes
4. Triangulating Aesthetic Experience
Murray Smith
5. Art and the Anthropologists
Gregory Currie
6. Aesthetic Science and Artistic Knowledge
Blake Gopnik
Part II: Psychological Perspectives
7. Empirical Investigation of an Aesthetic Experience with Art
Paul J. Locher
8. Hidden Knowledge in Aesthetic Judgments: Preferences for Colors and Spatial Compositions
Stephen E. Palmer, Karen B. Schloss, and Jonathan S. Gardner
9. Processing Fluency, Aesthetic Pleasure, and Culturally Shared Taste
Rolf Reber
10. Human Emotions and Aesthetic Experience
Paul J. Silvia
11. Artistic Development: The Three Essential Spheres
Kimberly M. Sheridan and Howard Gardner
Part III: Neuroscience Perspectives
12. Neuroaesthetics: Growing Pains of a New Discipline
Anjan Chatterjee
13. The Modularity of Aesthetic Processing and Perception in the Human Brain: Functional Neuroimaging Studies of Neuroaesthetics
Ulrich Kirk
14. Art Compositions Elicit Distributed Activation in the Human Brain
Alumit Ishai
15. A Cognitive and Behavioral Neurological Approach to Aesthetics
Zachary A. Miller & Bruce L. Miller
16. Neurology of Visual Aesthetics: Indian Nymphs, Modern Art, and Sexy Beaks
V. S. Ramachandran and Elizabeth Seckel

About the author: 

Arthur P. Shimamura is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He investigates human memory and cognition using neuroimaging techniques and by studying individuals with memory disorders. Dr. Shimamura is a founding member of the Society for Cognitive Neuroscience, has been a scientific advisor for the San Francisco Exploratorium Science Museum, and received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to explore art, aesthetics, and brain. Stephen E. Palmer, is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research and teaching focus is on visual perception, a topic closely related to his color photography. He is the author of Vision Science: Photons to Phenomenology, an advanced, interdisciplinary textbook on visual perception.

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