1st Edition

Evolutionary and Neurocognitive Approaches to Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

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    In this book, well-known scholars describe new and exciting approaches to aesthetics, creativity and psychology of the arts, approaching these topics from a point of view that is biological or related to biology and answering new questions with new methods and theories. All known societies produce and enjoy arts such as literature, music and visual decoration or depiction. Judging from prehistoric archaeological evidence, this arose very early in human development. Furthermore, Darwin was explicit in attributing aesthetic sensitivity to lower animals. These considerations lead us to wonder whether the arts might not be evolutionarily based. Although such an evolutionary basis is not obvious on the face of it, the idea has recently elicited considerable attention. The book begins with a consideration of ten theories on the evolutionary function of specific arts such as music and literature. The theory of evolution was first drawn up in biology, but evolution is not confined to biology: genuinely evolutionary theories of sociocultural change can be formulated. That they need to be formulated is shown in several chapters that discuss regular trends in literature and scientific writings. Psychologists have recently rediscovered the obvious fact that thought and perception occur in the brain, so cognitive science moves ever closer to neuroscience. Several chapters give overviews of neurocognitive and neural network approaches to creativity and aesthetic appreciation. The book concludes with two exciting describing brain-scan research on what happens in the brain during creativity and presenting a close examination of the relationship between genetically transmitted mental disorder and creativity.

    Colin Martindale

    Chapter 1
    What Art is and What Art Does: An Overview of Contemporary Evolutionary Hypotheses Ellen Dissanayake

    Chapter 2
    An Evolutionary Model of Artistic and Musical Creativity Gregory J. Feist

    Chapter 3
    The Adaptive Function of Literature Joseph Carroll

    Chapter 4
    Does Reading Literature Make People Happy? Willie van Peer, Alexandra Menties and Jan Auracher

    Chapter 5
    Cognitive Poetics and Poetry Recital Reuven Tsur

    Chapter 6
    The Alphabet and Creativity: Implications for East Asia William C. Hannas

    Chapter 7
    Creativity, Gender, History, and Authors of Fantasy for Children Ravenna Helson

    Chapter 8
    Trends in the Creative Content of Scientific Journals: Good, but Not as Good! Robert Hogenraad

    Chapter 9
    The Information Approach to Human Sciences, Especially Aesthetics Vladimir M. Petrov

    Chapter 10
    Art and Cognition: Cognitive Processes in Art Appreciation Helmut Leder and Benno Belke

    Chapter 11
    Literary Creativity: A Neuro-Psychoanalytic View Norman N. Holland

    Chapter 12
    A Neural-Network Theory of Beauty Colin Martindale

    Chapter 13
    Neural Correlates of Creative Cognition Oshin Vartanian and Vinod Goel

    Chapter 14
    Creativity, DNA, and Cerebral Blood Flow Rosa Aurora Chávez-Eakle

    Chapter 15
    Artistic Creativity and Affective Disorders: Are They Connected? Dennis K. Kinney and Ruth L. Richards


    Colin Martindale was a professor of psychology at the University of Maine for 35 years.