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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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The Creation of Art in the Setting of Dementia

The Creation of Art in the Setting of Dementia

(p.357) Chapter 18 The Creation of Art in the Setting of Dementia
Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain

Indre V. Viskontas

Suzee E. Lee

Oxford University Press

Countering the traditional emphasis on loss that dominates much of the neurological literature, some authors have recently chosen to focus on the positive changes that may accompany neurological diseases. This paradoxical facilitation of certain functions attests to the complexity, plasticity and compensatory capacity of the human brain. Specifically, there are rare cases of dementia patients whose art gains greater critical acclaim as their disease progresses. Studies of these patients inform both the neuroscience of creativity, and the aspects of art that are appreciated by specialists and the general public. An overview of the different clinical syndromes is followed by a review of both group and case studies of patients who have been shown to continue to create art in the setting of dementia. This review is followed by a discussion of how findings from these patients are reconciled with the more popular theories regarding the brain basis of creativity.

Keywords:   dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, semantic dementia, visual art, parietal lobe, neurodegeneration

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