Art, like language, is a unique feature of human behavior. Here I present a biologi cal account for the evolution of artistic behavior in humans. To do this, I first utilize the idea of “four questions” formulated by Tinbergen in classical ethology. By that, I point out the importance to deal not only proximate causes but also ultimate causes of artistic behavior, because such an approach enables an inclusive treatment of classical and contemporary arts. I then submit a dimensional theory of art, which is inspired from the dimensional theory of emotion. The dimensional theory of emotion accounts for the perception of facial expressions in terms of the two dimensions, the valence and the arousal. Likewise, the dimensional theory of artistic behavior tries to identify the axes by which the product of art is evaluated. I suggest that aesthetic, arousal, and social dimensions are necessary to account for art. In this schema, art is a process of finding a new niche in the 3-dimensional art space.
Creative activities are becoming increasingly important in modern society. Studies have been conducted to promote understanding and support of creative experts in var ious creative domains such as art, music, science, and technology. At the same time, it has also been pointed out that many ordinary citizens do not have opportunities to par ticipate in creative activities and do not have knowledge about creative processes and methods. Does this mean that citizens should be just consumers of creative products? In this paper, we claim that a creative society needs not only creative experts who professionally participate in creative activities, but also ‘people with creative literacy’ who understand creative activities and enjoy participating in such activities in their daily life. We discuss practices to cultivate people’s understanding of and motivation for creative activities, and the ways that cognitive science can contribute to the support of such practices.
A Noh mask, carved out of wood, is often said to be a byword for impassivity. However, a Noh mask expresses various emotions during traditional Japanese Noh per formances. A Noh mask that looks upward expresses happiness, while a mask looks downward expresses sadness. Nevertheless, previous studies reported the opposite re sults: people recognize pictures of masks with upward inclinations as being sad, whereas masks with the larger downward inclinations were perceived as happy. This absurdity seems to be occurred partly due to something realized in Mona Lisa’s smile. Livingstone (2000) pointed out that we cannot directly see Mona Lisa’s smile. Her smile appears only when we look at her eyes with seeing her mouth peripherally. A recent empirical study confirmed that this peripheral vision for smile makes a face more mysterious than a neutral or continuously smiling face. I will argue that a smiling mouth of Noh masks with downward inclinations makes a Noh mask mysterious during Noh performances, because hardly Eastern Asia people look at a mouth when they judge facial expressions (i.e., people see a mouth only peripherally). In experimental settings, people look at a mouth of a Noh mask directly, that causes the oppsite results from those expected in the framework of Noh world. I will also discuss similarities and differences between a Noh mask and “Hello Kitty”, which is a fictional character that also expresses countless facial expressions without a mouth.
When producing a new series of artworks, how does the artist form an art concept? In order to capture this formation process, we conducted a case study of a contempo rary artist. We interviewed the artist about his creation process once per three weeks for about ten months. During that period, in order to develop his art concept, the artist first drew his ideas on paper and then took photographs to collect visual infor mation. After these two phases, he began the hands-on creation of the artworks. As he discovered the core part of his new art concept during the photography phase, we analyzed the photographs and interview data collected during this phase. The results show that the visual information collected through the photography led to his discovery of sub-components of his art concept.
Manga is a visual art consisting of still images, words, and various symbolic rep- resentations. “Speed lines” are type of the symbolic representation in manga. They are typically depicted as several lines placed on the opposite side of the direction of motion. Although readers of manga can empirically estimate the motion direction of objects with speed lines, few studies have experimentally examined the perception of speed lines. We hence investigated spatial attention arising from speed lines by using a pre-cuing technique (Posner, 1980). For example, if speed lines placed on the left side of a depicted object induced a rightward motion perception, then spatial attention to the right should be enhanced. A total of thirty university students who have read manga before participated in two experiments. In Experiment 1, we employed schematic balls with or without speed lines as cues and measured reaction times for three different conditions. Target stimuli were presented on the opposite or the same side of the speed lines across the balls in the congruent and incongruent conditions, respectively. In the neutral condition, the schematic balls without speed lines were used as cues. Reaction times were found to be shorter for the congruent condition than the incongruent and neutral conditions. In Experiment 2, schematic balls with four figures instead of speed lines were used as cues in order to elucidate the particularity of the speed lines. Reac- tion times were shorter for the congruent and incongruent conditions than the neutral con- dition, and did not differ significantly between the congruent and incongruent conditions. These results indicated that spatial attention toward the direction of motion corresponding to manga artists’ intention was aroused by speed lines. Therefore, we conclude that adults who read manga can perceive the motion direction of objects with speed lines.
The creation of a work of art is indicated to result from expressive awareness,achieved as the artist matches images and methods. This study examined how novices, who tend to produce artistic expressions reproductively, acquire such expressive awareness over several weeks of practice of photography. We conducted case studies with two con- ditions: 1) one participant took photographs and reflected on her own work; 2) one participant imitated eminent works of creative expression in the domain and reflected on her own work. The results showed that the participants acquired expressive aware- ness in both conditions, but the scope of the expressive awareness was different. The participant who practiced only reflection on her own work started to focus on precise methods of expression, while the participant who practiced imitation as well as reflec- tion started to produce creative expressions and tried consciously to control her creative processes. The findings of this study are potentially useful for developing educational practice in art schools.
Music induces a wide range of emotions. However, the influence of physiological functions on musical emotions needs further theoretical considerations. This paper summarizes the physical and physiological functions that are related to musical emo- tions, and proposes a model for the embodied communication of musical emotions based on a discussion on the transmission of musical emotions across people by sharing move- ments and gestures. In this model, human with musical emotion is represented with (1) the interfaces of perception and expression (senses, movements, facial and vocal expressions), (2) an internal system of neural activities including the mirror system and the hormonal secretion system that handles responses to musical activities, and (3) the musical emotion that is enclosed in the internal system. Using this model, mu- sic is the medium for transmitting emotions, and communication of musical emotions is the communication of internal emotions through music and perception/expression interfaces. Finally, we will discuss which aspect in music functions to encourage the communication of musical emotions by humans.
It is known that naïve viewers have “reality constraints” in art appreciation, namely strong tendency to insist on identifying depicted object and its realistic expression in the artwork. Relaxing the reality constraints might help the naïve viewer to appreciate artworks in more creative way. In this paper we investigated whether reading com- mentary on artwork helps appreciation and what kind of commentary is more effective. Fifty college students without particular art education participated in an experiment. The participants were assigned to one of four conditions. The experiment consisted of two phases: preliminary appreciation phase and main appreciation phase. In the pre- liminary appreciation phase, three groups of participants were presented paintings by Renoir, Matisse and Klee, and made free descriptions on their thoughts on each paint- ing. Along with each of painting, a commentary on objects depicted in the painting was provided to participants in object commentary condition, a commentary on formal and technical aspects of the painting was provided to formal commentary condition, and no commentary was provided no commentary condition. No preliminary appreciation condition skipped the preliminary appreciation phase. After the preliminary apprecia- tion phase, all the participants were presented two paintings by Gogh and Kandinsky without any commentary and made free description. Analysis of free description in main appreciation phase showed that (1) reading commentary activated verbalization during the appreciation, (2) the participants generally focused on what was depicted in the painting, (3) reading commentary on technical aspects was more effective for relaxing reality constraints and deepening the experience of paintings.
According to Meyer, musical emotion is elicited by deviations from musical expecta- tion. We assume such deviations as a musical complexity. In this study, we focused on the structure of melodies, and created complexities built in either or both types of structures: one made of notes and the other made of grouping hierarchic elements, which we called level 1 structure and level 2 structure. We conducted a psychological experiment revealing relationships between emotion and musical complexities. Par- ticipants assessed musical emotions (GEMS-9) and feeling that something is wrong as sensory psychological quantity of complexities. As the results of ANOVAs, we found that destructions of both level 1 structure and level 2 structure effected feeling that something is wrong. Moreover, destructions of level 2 structure effected tension, sad- ness,andtranscendence of musical emotions. These results indicate that manipulating destructions level of musical structure might control specific musical emotions.