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The Shaping and Reshaping of the Aesthetic Brain: Emerging Perspectives on the Neurobiology of Embodied Aesthetics

Kirsch, LP; Urgesi, C; Cross, ES; (2015) The Shaping and Reshaping of the Aesthetic Brain: Emerging Perspectives on the Neurobiology of Embodied Aesthetics. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.12.005. Green open access

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Abstract

Less than two decades after its inception, the burgeoning field of neuroaesthetics continues to grow in interest and momentum. Despite the biological and social importance of the human body and the attention people pay to its appearance in daily life, only recently has neuroaesthetic inquiry turned its attention to questions concerning the aesthetic appraisal of the human body. We review evidence illustrating that the complexity of aesthetic experience is reflected by dynamic interplay between brain systems involved in reward, perceptual and motor processing, with a focus on aesthetic perception involving the human body. We then evaluate work demonstrating how these systems are modulated by beholders’ expertise or familiarity. Finally, we discuss seminal studies revealing the plasticity of behavioural and neural responses to beauty after perceptual and motor training. This research highlights the rich potential for neuroaesthetic inquiry to extend beyond its typical realm of the fine arts to address important questions regarding the relationship between embodiment, aesthetics and performing arts. We conclude by considering some of the criticisms and limitations of neuroaesthetics, and highlight several outstanding issues for future inquiry.

Type: Article
Title: The Shaping and Reshaping of the Aesthetic Brain: Emerging Perspectives on the Neurobiology of Embodied Aesthetics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.12.005
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.12.005
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.)
Keywords: Neuroaesthetics; fMRI; Brain; Beauty; Art; Body perception; Dance; Embodiment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474171
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