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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00739

Art and psychological wellbeing: linking the brain to the aesthetic emotion

  • 1Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy

Empirical studies suggest that art improves health and wellbeing among individuals. However, how aesthetic appreciation affects our cognitive and emotional states to promote physical and psychological wellbeing is still unclear. In this review, we consider the idea that the positive emotional output elicited from the aesthetic experience affects mood, and indirectly promotes health and wellbeing.
First, we examine evidence that arts promoting wellbeing involve art museums, healthcare settings, and education. Second, we review some neuroimaging studies addressing aesthetic experience and emotional processing. In particular, we leveraged advances in neuroaesthetics to explore different hypotheses about the determinants of aesthetic pleasure during art reception, in the attempt to clarify how experiencing art promotes wellbeing. Finally, we propose research on aesthetic experience and psychophysiological measures of stress, with the goal of promoting a focused use of art as a tool for improving wellbeing and health.

Keywords: aesthetic emotion, Art museum, art-based learning, neuroaesthetics, wellbeing, Emotion Regulation, Aesthetic appraisal

Received: 26 Nov 2018; Accepted: 16 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Branka Spehar, University of New South Wales, Australia

Reviewed by:

Marco Bertamini, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Slobodan Markovic, University of Belgrade, Serbia  

Copyright: © 2019 Mastandrea, Fagioli and Biasi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Stefano Mastandrea, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Rome, Italy, stefano.mastandrea@uniroma3.it