BLOG

Share 0
Like 0
The Relationship Between Art and the Brain

The Relationship Between Art and the Brain

You’ve probably heard that those who engage in art are smarter, which is why elite, private schools require their students to engage in some form of art. But is there truth to that? According to recent cognitive research, there could be.

A study published just last year on Huffington Post illustrates the positive cognitive effects of engaging in hands-on art. According to the original study, conducted in Germany, “The production of visual art improves effective interaction” between parts of the brain. Its conclusion shows that those who engage in art throughout their lives are less likely to be victims of age-related brain degeneration.

 

The study was performed on 28 people, ages 62 to 70 (13 men and 15 women). The researchers randomly selected and involved half of the participants in art-related activities, and they enrolled the other half in an art theory class. The first class allowed participants to work with art hands-on, while the other only showed photos of art and discussed different elements of various artworks.

 

Each class was held for a two-hour period once a week and went on for 10 weeks. At the conclusion of the courses, researchers used MRI technology to analyze the brain and emotional functions. The result clearly showed that those who were able to use their hands to make art had more improved and resilient cognitive functions, while those in the theory class showed little to no improvement, or even fared worse than at the beginning of the course.

                                        

Researchers believe that the reason behind the improved brain function was a result of practicing both cognitive and motor processing with the hands-on art. In a sense, the results were similar to what happens when you exercise a muscle for 10 weeks; it yields improved strength and accuracy.

 

It’s true that this study was small, and there is not a lot of research to back it up. However, that’s partially because this concept is fairly new and unexplored, and if you look into the past, you’ll see several geniuses who engaged heavily in the production of art.

 

Leonardo da Vinci: Leonardo is not only one of the greatest painters of all time, emulated in countless works of art, including this work on Park West Gallery's website; he’s also on the list of the top 10 smartest people in the history of the world. Though there was no such thing as an IQ test in his time, based on records of his work, experts place his IQ anywhere between 190 and 210. Today, we calculate genius status at 140, making da Vinci one of the smartest people in all history.

 

Michelangelo: The famous painter of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo devoted his life to engaging in hands-on art. He was also a highly intelligent man, and experts calculate that he would have scored 180 points on an IQ test had he taken it today.

 

Rembrandt: Born a mere 150 years after da Vinci and Michelangelo, Rembrandt is the most famous Dutch painter and printmaker of all time. With an estimated IQ of 155, Rembrandt was a genius.

 

Though there is, to date, no hard evidence backing up any of these claims, this study and past evidence shows very clearly that there could in fact be a correlation between intelligence and engaging in hands-on art.

 

Share 0
Like 0

You are in

Human Neuroscience