The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain

The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain

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by Robert L. Solso
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0262194848

ISBN-13: 9780262194846

Pub. Date: 12/01/2003

Publisher: MIT Press

How did the human brain evolve so that art and an appreciation of art could develop? In The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain, Robert Solso describes how a consciousness that evolved for other purposes perceives and creates art.

Drawing on his earlier book Cognition and the Visual Arts and ten years of new findings in cognitive research (as

Overview

How did the human brain evolve so that art and an appreciation of art could develop? In The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain, Robert Solso describes how a consciousness that evolved for other purposes perceives and creates art.

Drawing on his earlier book Cognition and the Visual Arts and ten years of new findings in cognitive research (as well as new ideas in anthropology and art history), Solso shows that consciousness developed gradually, with distinct components that evolved over time. One of these components is an adaptive consciousness that includes the ability to imagine objects that are not present-an ability that allows us to create (and perceive) visual art.

Solso describes the neurological, perceptual, and cognitive sequence that occurs when we view art, and the often inexpressible effect that a work of art has on us. He shows that there are two aspects to viewing art: nativistic perception-the synchronicity of eye and brain that transforms electromagnetic energy into neurochemical codes-which is "hard-wired" into the sensory-cognitive system; and directed perception, which incorporates personal history and knowledge-the entire set of our expectations and past experiences. Both forms of perception are part of the appreciation of art, and both are products of the evolution of the conscious brain over hundreds of thousands of years. The many works of art used as examples are drawn from a wide range of artistic traditions, from ancient Egypt to Africa and India and the European Renaissance.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262194846
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
12/01/2003
Series:
Bradford Books Series
Pages:
294
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Series Forewordxi
Prefacexiii
Introduction: Art ... a Tutorial1
Nativistic Perception and Directed Perception2
Nativistic Perception Applied to the Raft4
Directed Perception Applied to the Raft5
Nude Descending a Staircase No. 28
Rebound10
Art Meets Science13
1Art and the Rise of Consciousness15
Changes in Science, Changes in Art18
Traditional Ways of Understanding Art: Psychophysical Dualism19
Art and Mind: A Unitary View21
The Evolution of Art and Consciousness24
The Rise of Consciousness as a Scientific Topic25
AWAREness: The Five Facets of Consciousness26
From Nucleotides to Newton36
2Art and Evolution39
The "New and Improved" Brain and Technology, Art, Language, and Culture41
Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, and Dogs That Can't Hunt46
The Cognitive "Big Bang"51
The Cognitive Blueprint58
Environmental and Dietary Changes62
Brains and Adaptation66
The Evolution of the Brain69
3Art and Vision73
Visual AWAREness73
Seeing with Brain and Eye: The Dynamic Properties of Vision76
The Eye82
Beautiful Colors92
From the Eye to the Brain97
The Visual System and the Perception of Art99
4Art and the Brain107
The Evolution of the Consciously AWARE Brain108
The Cognitive Big Bang and the Emergence of Art113
What Brains Do117
"Raphael's Brain"129
5About Face133
Faces Are Special in Art140
Domain Specificity and Faces141
What the Portrait Artist's Brain "Sees"149
The Face as a Reflection of the "Inner Person"163
6Illusions: Sensory, Cognitive, and Artistic169
Sensory Illusions: Truth or Fiction?170
Cognitive Illusions: Twisting Truth172
Visual Illusions178
Artistic Illusions184
First-Order Isomorphism and Proto-Isomorphism194
7Perspective: The Art of Illusion197
Seeing a 3D World with a 2D Eye197
Principles of Depth Perception: Where Is It?201
Recumbent Figures: Why They Are So Hard to Draw215
8Art and Schemata223
Schemata223
Visual Dissonance235
Canonic Representations240
Representational Art-Abstract Art248
A Cognitive Neuroscience Theory of Aesthetics254
Notes261
References265
Index273

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The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a highly original and thoughtful approach to art in which a leading cognitive psychologist adds a fresh look at art and the evolution of the brain. It is very readable and reflects considerable intellectual polish although, at times, I had to read some passages several times to get the meaning. It is rich in detail. Perhaps the most interesting section to me(although I have to say that all sections were pretty interesting) was the part that asserted that prehistoric art (as well as current art) was a manifestation of the brain's capacity to image and represent non-present objects. As such art is seen as a significant intellectual step which lead to civilization as we now know it. Overall, this is a significant, readable book which will be an important part of how we see art and the evolution of the brain.