the artful brain - educause

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The Artful Brain V. S. Ramachandran W hat is art? When Picasso said, “Art is the lie that re- veals the truth,” what exactly did he mean? Neuroscientists have made remarkable headway in under- standing the neural basis of psychological phenomena such as body image or visual perception. But can the same be said of art—given that art obviously originates in the brain? In particular, we can ask whether there are such things as artistic universals. There is obviously an enormous number of artistic styles across the world: Tibetan art, Classical Greek art, Renaissance art, Cubism, Expressionism, Indian art, pre- Columbian art, Dada . . . the list is endless. But despite this staggering diversity, can we come up with some universal laws or principles that transcend these cultural boundaries and styles? The question may seem meaningless to many social scien- tists; after all, science deals with universal principles, whereas art is the ultimate celebration of human individuality and orig- inality—the ultimate antidote to the homogenizing effects of science. There is some truth to this, of course, but even so I’d like to argue that such universals do exist. 169

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Post on 11-Feb-2022




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