CULTURE & ARTS

Neuroaesthetic Research Probes Link Between Art, Perception, and the Self

A woman looks at Edouard Manet's 'Olympia' on April 23, 2013 in Venice, during  the 'Manet Return to Venice' exhibition, whic
A woman looks at Edouard Manet's 'Olympia' on April 23, 2013 in Venice, during the 'Manet Return to Venice' exhibition, which runs until 18 August 2013, at the Doge's Palace in Venice. Edouard Manet's 'Olympia' will be appearing alongside the Titian's 'Venus of Urbino' a masterpice of Renaissance and source of ispiration for the French artist. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

When you look at a painting and feel that somehow it was made just for a person like you, it might actually be true. New neuroscience research shows that deep feeling of personal resonance from some works of art is linked to your brain’s sense of self.

As Pacific Standard has reported, research published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Neuroscience  (the full text is here) examines how the brain’s default mode network (DMN), usually inactive when you are engaged with the outside world, responds to these particular works of art that especially move you. Since the DMN is connected to introspection and the self, this could mean that the feeling that a work of art is intensely personal is activating parts of our brain very much associated with personal identities.

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