The Aesthetic Brain (NiP): How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art

Paperback | September 15, 2015

byAnjan Chatterjee

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The Aesthetic Brain takes readers on an exciting journey through the world of beauty, pleasure, and art. Using the latest advances in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, Anjan Chatterjee investigates how an aesthetic sense is etched into our minds, and explains why artistic concernsfeature centrally in our lives. Along the way, Chatterjee addresses such fundamental questions as: What is beauty? Is it universal? How is beauty related to pleasure? What is art? Should art be beautiful? Do we have an instinct for art?Early on, Chatterjee probes the reasons why we find people, places, and even numbers beautiful, highlighting the important relationship between beauty and pleasure. Examining our pleasures allows him to reveal why we enjoy things like food, sex, and money, and how these rewards relate to ouraesthetic encounters. Chatterjee's detailed discussion of beauty and pleasure equips readers to confront essential questions about the nature of art, the problems of defining it, and the challenges of interpreting its modern, non-traditional forms. Replete with facts, anecdotes, and analogies, thislively empirical guide to aesthetics offers scientific answers to fundamental questions without deflating the intrinsic wonders of beauty and art in an affordable paperback edition.

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The Aesthetic Brain takes readers on an exciting journey through the world of beauty, pleasure, and art. Using the latest advances in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, Anjan Chatterjee investigates how an aesthetic sense is etched into our minds, and explains why artistic concernsfeature centrally in our lives. Along the way, C...

Anjan Chatterjee, M.D., is Professor of Neurology, and a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the editorial boards of Empirical Studies of the Arts; Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology; Behavioural Neurology; Neuropsychology; Journal o...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:September 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019026201X

ISBN - 13:9780190262013

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionBEAUTY1. What is this thing called beauty?2. Captivating faces3. The measure of facial beauty4. The body beautiful5. How the brain works6. Brains behind beauty7. Evolving beauty8. Landscapes9. Numbering beauty10. The illogic of beautyPLEASURE1. What is this thing called pleasure?2. Food3. Sex4. Money5. Liking, wanting, learning6. The logic of pleasureART1. What is this thing called art?2. Art: Biology and culture3. Descriptive science of the arts4. Experimental science of the arts5. Conceptual art6. The inception of art7. Messy minds8. Evolving art9. Art: A tail or a song?10. The serendipity of art

Editorial Reviews

"[Chatterjee] makes a compelling case that although art and beauty may seem nonessential, they epitomize our search for pleasure and meaning in life." --Scientific American Mind