The Neurobiology of Beauty

[Speaker] Zeki, Semir:1
1:University College London (United Kingdom)

Although inspired by philosophies of aesthetics in formulating its questions, neuroesthetics does not seek to explain beauty or art but studies instead the neural mechanisms that allow humans, regardless of culture and ethnic origin, to experience beauty. Aesthetic experiences derived from sensory sources as well as highly highly cognitive (mathematical) ones correlate with activity in field A1 of the medial orbito-frontal cortex (mOFC), although otherwise different brain areas are active with visual, musical or mathematical experiences. The strength of activity in mOFC is proportional to the declared intensity of the aesthetic experience, thus showing that aesthetic experiences and judgments can be quantified. These results raise broader questions about the biological and intellectual significance of aesthetic experiences
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