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Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain$
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Joseph P. Huston, Marcos Nadal, Francisco Mora, Luigi F. Agnati, and Camilo José Cela Conde

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670000

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670000.001.0001

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Beautiful embodiment: The shaping of aesthetic preference by personal experience

Beautiful embodiment: The shaping of aesthetic preference by personal experience

(p.189) Chapter 10 Beautiful embodiment: The shaping of aesthetic preference by personal experience
Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain

Emily S. Cross

Oxford University Press

The co-evolution of dance with the human race has fuelled a rich debate on the function of art and aesthetic experience, engaging artists, philosophers, and scientists. While dance shares features with other art forms, one unique attribute is that it is expressed (only) with the human body. Because of this, social scientists and neuroscientists are turning to dance to help answer questions of how the brain coordinates the body to perform complex, precise, and beautiful movements. This chapter highlights findings from studies that use dancers to explore how individual experience shapes the links between watching and performing action. This research capitalizes upon recent advances in neuroscientific methods to advance our understanding of not only the cerebral phenomena associated with dance learning and observation, but also the neural underpinnings of aesthetic appreciation when watching dance. This domain of work stands to inform and mutually benefit the scientific and artistic communities.

Keywords:   dance, neuroscience, aesthetics, action, perception

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