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

Toward A Brain-Based Theory of Beauty

Ishizu, T; Zeki, S; (2011) Toward A Brain-Based Theory of Beauty. PLOS ONE , 6 (7) , Article e21852. 10.1371/journal.pone.0021852. Green open access

[thumbnail of 1317077.pdf]
Preview
PDF
1317077.pdf

Download (552kB)

Abstract

We wanted to learn whether activity in the same area(s) of the brain correlate with the experience of beauty derived from different sources. 21 subjects took part in a brain-scanning experiment using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Prior to the experiment, they viewed pictures of paintings and listened to musical excerpts, both of which they rated on a scale of 1-9, with 9 being the most beautiful. This allowed us to select three sets of stimuli-beautiful, indifferent and ugly-which subjects viewed and heard in the scanner, and rated at the end of each presentation. The results of a conjunction analysis of brain activity showed that, of the several areas that were active with each type of stimulus, only one cortical area, located in the medial orbito-frontal cortex (mOFC), was active during the experience of musical and visual beauty, with the activity produced by the experience of beauty derived from either source overlapping almost completely within it. The strength of activation in this part of the mOFC was proportional to the strength of the declared intensity of the experience of beauty. We conclude that, as far as activity in the brain is concerned, there is a faculty of beauty that is not dependent on the modality through which it is conveyed but which can be activated by at least two sources-musical and visual-and probably by other sources as well. This has led us to formulate a brain-based theory of beauty.

Type: Article
Title: Toward A Brain-Based Theory of Beauty
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021852
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021852
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011 Ishizu, Zeki. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, London. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: MEDIAL ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX, FACIAL ATTRACTIVENESS, ROMANTIC LOVE, REWARD VALUE, PREFERENCE, RESPONSES, EMOTION, SYSTEMS
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/1317077
Downloads since deposit
236Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item