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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Cognition and art: the current interdisciplinary approach

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Abstract For decades discussions of cognition and art were anchored in psychological and perceptual theories alone and were focused primarily on pictorial art, but in recent years a major conceptual shift has altered the discussions. Now, insights, concepts, and findings from archaeology, anthropology, brain evolution, biology, genetics, neurology, and neuroscience together with psychology and perception are leading into deeper scholarly explorations of the topic than was done previously. The implication is that the relationship between cognition and art can be fully grasped only when scholarship from all these disciplines is included in the discussions. We now emphasize that the diverse art forms practiced ubiquitously in human societies have a communicative value with deep biological roots and that art is another expression of the symbolic cognition that is the hallmark of the human brain, but that early societal‐type organization played a pivotal role in the enduring practice of art. Moreover, neurological evidence from artists with brain damage suggests that the communicative nature of art is neuronally damage‐resistant, much more so than language. Rather than placing pictorial art center stage, as was done previously, the current interdisciplinary approach includes all the arts, points to sociocultural triggers for art practice, to the demographic conditions that prevailed in art's early beginnings, and to the interplay of these evolutionarily adaptive factors with deep biological motivations in the artist. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:431–439. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1236 This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Neuroscience > Behavior

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Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition

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