Are Brains Hardwired to Love Art?

Well, my brain certainly is.  And new evidence suggests that yours is, too! "The human brain is built for art appreciation," The Wall Street Journal reports. It's a "natural biological process.

The smarty-pants at The University of Toronto just released a paper titled “Neural correlates of viewing paintings: Evidence from a quantitative meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data.  The gist is that their findings reveal that viewing paintings activates various regions of the brain, meaning our minds just might be organized to engage with visual art.

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The brain and abstract explains:

As predicted, viewing paintings was correlated with activation in a distributed system including the occipital lobes, temporal lobe structures in the ventral stream involved in object (fusiform gyrus) and scene (parahippocampal gyrus) perception, and the anterior insula-a key structure in experience of emotion. In addition, we also observed activation in the posterior cingulate cortex bilaterally-part of the brain's default network. These results suggest that viewing paintings engages not only systems involved in visual representation and object recognition, but also structures underlying emotions and internalized cognitions.

In other words, when viewers looked at paintings, it triggered activity in regions of the brain associated with "vision, pleasure, memory, recognition and emotions.

How cool is this?  Art is so subjective, but expressing ourselves visually has been a human impulse since the dawn of time, and this could explain why. 

You can read more here:

You can also review the research findings here: