Evolutionary and Neurocognitive Approaches to Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Evolutionary and Neurocognitive Approaches to Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts

1st Edition

By Colin Martindale, Paul Locher, Vladimir M Petrov, Arnold Berleant


238 pages

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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.

Table of Contents


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

About the Authors

Colin Martindale, Paul Locher, Vladimir Petrov, Arnold Berleant

About the Series

Foundations and Frontiers in Aesthetics Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health