(ORDO NEWS) — You can often hear the stereotype that the brain of creative people, such as artists, works differently. However, if you think about how a novice student draws and a maestro writes, it becomes unclear when this difference is formed in their “computer”?
How do fine art skills affect our brains?
According to research, there really is a difference, and it lies in the structure and functioning of the brain. The study, published in the journal NeuroImage, looked at differences in the brains of 44 students who studied painting or non-creative science. They were all asked to complete a drawing task.
The results of the brain scans were subjected to an analysis called voxel-based morphometry, which estimates the volume of gray and white matter in areas of the brain that are considered functional for certain tasks.
Surprisingly, students who took up painting were found to have greater gray matter density in the left anterior cerebellum, right medial frontal gyrus, and right precuneus.
These areas are involved in the control of fine motor skills (important for hand movements when drawing), procedural memory (unconscious long-term memory that accumulates experience to complete tasks), and visual imagery (a skill that helps the imagination and manipulate objects and scenes in the imagination).
These results mean that some areas of the brains of artists who are involved in drawing-related work are more developed than the same areas in people who do not draw.
But the question is, are artists born like this or not? The answer to this question is rather complicated. So far, research has not stumbled upon a methodology that effectively compares the individual influence of genes to the influence of circumstances. Increased gray matter volume may be congenital, but there is a possibility that this is the result of training.
Discussing this issue, it is worth understanding what exactly distinguishes the artist from the layman. It is believed that people with artistic education see the world differently.
Our visual system does not actually see objects, but rather shadows, contours, edges, and other surface features that help us determine their characteristics. Artists feel these characteristics either intuitively or through training.
In one study , scientists tried to find out how different people focus their eyes. To do this, they gave artists and other people special eye trackers. In scientific terms, the scientists tried to find out if there is a difference in visual scanning trajectories between artists and non-artists.
The results showed that the eyes of artists tend to “scan” the whole picture, including the empty spaces of the ocean or sky, while the eyes of other people focus on specific objects, especially people. People who couldn’t draw held their eyes on an object twice as long as artists.
The results show that the non-drawer is trying to “translate” the image into a concept, while the artists are busy exploring contours and shadows. That is why the drawings of a person who has not been trained in fine art skills are often so different from photographs.
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