UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

The neural determinants of abstract beauty

Rasche, Samuel E; Beyh, Ahmad; Paolini, Marco; Zeki, Semir; (2023) The neural determinants of abstract beauty. European Journal of Neuroscience , 57 (4) pp. 633-645. 10.1111/ejn.15912. Green open access

[thumbnail of Zeki_ The neural determinants of abstract beauty.pdf]
Preview
Text
Zeki_ The neural determinants of abstract beauty.pdf

Download (882kB) | Preview

Abstract

We have enquired into the neural activity which correlates with the experience of beauty aroused by abstract paintings consisting of arbitrary assemblies of lines and colours. During the brain imaging experiments, subjects rated abstract paintings according to aesthetic appeal. There was low agreement on the aesthetic classification of these paintings among participants. Univariate analyses revealed higher activity with higher declared aesthetic appeal in both the visual areas and the medial frontal cortex. Additionally, representational similarity analysis (RSA) revealed that the experience of beauty correlated with decodable patterns of activity in visual areas. These results are broadly similar to those obtained in previous studies on facial beauty. With abstract art, it was the involvement of visual areas implicated in the processing of lines and colours while with faces it was of visual areas implicated in the processing of faces. Both categories of aesthetic experience correlated with increased activity in medial frontal cortex. We conclude that the sensory areas participate in the selection of stimuli according to aesthetic appeal and that it is the co-operative activity between the sensory areas and the medial frontal cortex that is the basis for the experience of abstract visual beauty. Further, this co-operation is enabled by “experience dependent” functional connections, in the sense that currently the existence and high specificity of these connections can only be demonstrated during certain experiences.

Type: Article
Title: The neural determinants of abstract beauty
Location: France
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ejn.15912
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15912
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience published by Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: abstract art, beauty, experience-dependent brain, connections, neuroesthetics, representational similarity analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163222
Downloads since deposit
76Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item