Towards a sensorimotor aesthetics of performing art

Consciousness and Cognition 17 (3):911-922 (2008)
The field of neuroaesthetics attempts to identify the brain processes underlying aesthetic experience, including but not limited to beauty. Previous neuroaesthetic studies have focussed largely on paintings and music, while performing arts such as dance have been less studied. Nevertheless, increasing knowledge of the neural mechanisms that represent the bodies and actions of others, and which contribute to empathy, make a neuroaesthetics of dance timely. Here, we present the first neuroscientific study of aesthetic perception in the context of the performing arts. We investigated brain areas whose activity during passive viewing of dance stimuli was related to later, independent aesthetic evaluation of the same stimuli. Brain activity of six naïve male subjects was measured using fMRI, while they watched 24 dance movements, and performed an irrelevant task. In a later session, participants rated each movement along a set of established aesthetic dimensions. The ratings were used to identify brain regions that were more active when viewing moves that received high average ratings than moves that received low average ratings. This contrast revealed bilateral activity in the occipital cortices and in right premotor cortex. Our results suggest a possible role of visual and sensorimotor brain areas in an automatic aesthetic response to dance. This sensorimotor response may explain why dance is widely appreciated in so many human cultures
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2007.11.003
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Edmund T. Rolls (2000). Précis of the Brain and Emotion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2):177-191.
Alan Goldman (2001). The Aesthetic. In Berys Nigel Gaut & Dominic Lopes (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. Routledge

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Kingsley Price (1970). The Performing and the Non-Performing Arts. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 29 (1):53-62.
James K. Feibleman (1970). On the Metaphysics of the Performing Arts. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 28 (3):295-299.
Tom Roberts (2010). Understanding 'Sensorimotor Understanding'. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (1):101-111.
Haig Khatchadourian (1978). Movement and Action in the Performing Arts. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (1):25-36.
Morse Peckham (1965). Man's Rage for Chaos. Philadelphia, Chilton Books.
Christy Mag Uidhir & Cameron Buckner (2014). A Portrait of the Artist as an Aesthetic Expert. In Gregory Currie, Matthew Kieran & Aaron Meskin (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences. Oxford University Press

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #160,237 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.