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The Aesthetic Animal$
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Henrik Hogh-Olesen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190927929

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190927929.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 April 2021

Art and the Brain’s Reward System

Art and the Brain’s Reward System

Brain Processes and Neuroaesthetics

(p.107) 7 Art and the Brain’s Reward System
The Aesthetic Animal

Henrik Hogh-Olesen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 takes the investigation of the aesthetic impulse into the human brain to understand, first, why only we—and not our closest relatives among the primates—express ourselves aesthetically; and second, how the brain reacts when presented with aesthetic material. Brain scans are less useful when you are interested in the Why of aesthetic behavior rather than the How. Nevertheless, some brain studies have been ground-breaking, and neuroaesthetics offers a pivotal argument for the key function of the aesthetic impulse in human lives; it shows us that the brain’s reward circuit is activated when we are presented with aesthetic objects and stimuli. For why reward a perception or an activity that is evolutionarily useless and worthless in relation to human existence?

Keywords:   brain modules, brain systems, chimpanzee brain, dopamine, endorphin, neuroaesthetics, reward circuit

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