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Since Plato, the beauty found in art has been synonymous with expanding the intellect. But can art have a tangible effect on improving the human mind? Thanks to modern science, the positive benefits of art on the brain can now be measured… Getting involved in art in some way, whether that’s learning about it or doing it yourself, really can improve your thinking in several ways which are presented in the How Art Improves Thinking Infographic.
1. It heightens brain activity.
An experiment involving 14 art viewers and a fake Rembrandt showed that scrutinising the value of artwork heightens activity in regions of the brain associated with reward.
2. It exercises our survival instinct.
Viewing art makes the ‘fight or flight’ part of our brains more responsive to depictions of fear – an impulse that warned our ancestors of threats.
3. It develops core skills.
Practising executive function activities such as drawing has been shown to significantly improve reasoning and teamwork skills for children aged 3-5.
4. It enhances wellbeing.
Studies suggest that visual arts therapy reduces mental distress in patients. They also indicate that art has significant positive health effects in aiding recovery.
5. It makes you more attentive.
5 days of artistic activities, for 30 minutes a day, showed significant increases in motivation and attention span among children aged 4-6.
6. It helps you see the world differently.
Scans of 44 artists’ brains show that portions of them are more developed, particularly those parts responsible for fine motor performance and procedural memory.
7. It increases your creativity.
Based on studies of almost 1,500 students, integrating visual and imagined imagery into different learning tasks is shown to increase creativity in discussions, modelling and assessment.
8. It helps us find meaning.
Works of art often contain visual clues and illusions to evoke particular responses, tricking our brains into finding meaning in the arbitrary.
Art speaks to something primal within us, tapping into our imagination and firing our creative impulses. And best of all, doing it and viewing it is proven to make us better, more considerate thinkers.