In Ian North (ed.), Visual Animals: Cross Overs, Evolution and New Aesthetics. Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia. pp. 73-83 (2007)

Jennifer A. McMahon
University of Adelaide
If we conceive of ourselves as animals, it might be accurate to call us visual animals. The visual cortex is much larger in us relative to the size of our brains than in other animals, and large relative to the parts of the cortex responsible for the transmission of signals emanating from the other perceptual transducers. Our ability to recall visual images, recombine them in imagination and enter imaginatively into narratives is linked to this evolved piece of brain architecture. However, what this means within the context of human culture is not so clear. A large visual cortex might not necessarily translate into a heightened susceptibility for fine visual distinctions over auditory or kinetic distinctions, at least not in all cultural contexts.
Keywords Art, evolutionary theory  Aesthetic Ideas  Kant, Immanuel  Imagination
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