The Psychology of Art

For centuries artists have used pigments to create a multitude of visual effects able to trigger powerful cognitive and emotional responses. Such responses result from complex interactions between environment and brain activity. The aesthetic roots of art perception and creativity are currently the focus of a wide range of insightful studies. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what is it about the human brain that enables us to appreciate it?

In this talk we will discuss the link between visual art and psychology from a cognitive, evolutionary, and neurological perspective. A variety of questions will be addressed, including:

• Why Mona Lisa’s smile looks ambiguous?

• What is special about the sun and poppies in Monet’s paintings?

• Is the right-hand side of the brain more “artistic” than the left-hand side?

• What are visual illusions?

We will look at how works of art inspired scientists to search for the neurological roots of the creation and appreciation of art. There will be a particular focus on paintings and modern art.

Talk by:
Dr. Fatima M Felisberti

with Dr. Chris Hewer 

Both senior lecturers at Kingston University, Faculty of Social Sciences, in the department of Psychology.

Image: courtesy of Kingston University Promotional department