The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Assessments (05-30-19)

Skov conducted a literature review of neuroscience-based aesthetics research. He determined that “Aesthetic appreciation is not driven only by object properties. . . . . [neuroimaging] evidence suggests that identical stimuli can give rise to diverse computational representations, both in perceptual networks and in the reward circuit, as well as different hedonic [pleasure-related] values, when contextual circumstances vary. This flexible nature of aesthetic appreciation reflects its functional purpose. . . . . For example, chocolate is valued higher when blood sugar levels are low, and lower when these are high, because this variance in hedonic value helps decide if it is advantageous or not to consume chocolate.”

Martin Skov. “Aesthetic Appreciation:  The View from Neuroimaging.”  Empirical Studies of the Arts, in press,