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The role of the visual arts in enhancing the learning process

Tyler, C. W. & Likova, L.T. (2012). The role of the visual arts in enhancing the learning process. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6(JANUAR), article number 8. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00008


With all the wealth of scientific activities, there remains a certain stigma associated with careers in science, as a result of the inevitable concentration on narrow specializations that are inaccessible to general understanding. Enhancement of the process of scientific learning remains a challenge, particularly in the school setting. While direct explanation seems the best approach to expedite learning any specific subject, it is well known that the ability to deeply absorb facts and concepts is greatly enhanced by placing them in a broader context of relevance to the issues of everyday life and to the larger goals of improvement of the quality of life and advancement to a more evolved society as a whole. If the sciences can be associated with areas of artistic endeavor, they may be viewed as more accessible and favorable topics of study. There is consequently an urgent need for research in the relationship between learning and experience in the arts because both art education and scientific literacy remain at an inadequate level even in economically advanced countries. The focus of this review is the concept that inspiration is an integral aspect of the artistic experience, both for the artist and for the viewer of the artwork. As an integrative response, inspiration involves not only higher cortical circuitry but its integration with the deep brain structures such as limbic system and medial frontal structures, which are understood to mediate the experience of emotions, motivational rewards, and the appreciation of the esthetic values of the impinging stimuli. In this sense, inspiration can turn almost any occupation in life into an avocation, a source of satisfaction in achieving life goals. Conversely, when inspiration is lacking, the motivation to learn, adapt, and prosper is impeded. Thus, inspiration may be viewed as a potent aspect of human experience in linking art and science.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. it is reproduced with permission.
Publisher Keywords: art, learning, neuroscience, limbic system, inspiration
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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