Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us

(5 customer reviews)

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A life-altering journey through the science of neuroaesthetics, which offers proof for how our brains and bodies transform when we participate in the arts—and how this knowledge can improve our health, enable us to flourish, and build stronger communities.
“This book blew my mind!”—Angela Duckworth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grit
Many of us think of the arts as entertainment—a luxury of some kind. In Your Brain on Art, authors Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross show how activities from painting and dancing to expressive writing, architecture, and more are essential to our lives.
We’re on the verge of a cultural shift in which the arts can deliver potent, accessible, and proven solutions for the well-being of everyone. Magsamen and Ross offer compelling research that shows how engaging in an art project for as little as forty-five minutes reduces the stress hormone cortisol, no matter your skill level, and just one art experience per month can extend your life by ten years. They expand our understanding of how playing music builds cognitive skills and enhances learning; the vibrations of a tuning fork create sound waves to counteract stress; virtual reality can provide cutting-edge therapeutic benefit; and interactive exhibits dissolve the boundaries between art and viewers, engaging all of our senses and strengthening memory. Doctors have even been prescribing museum visits to address loneliness, dementia, and many other physical and mental health concerns.
Your Brain on Art is a portal into this new understanding about how the arts and aesthetics can help us transform traditional medicine, build healthier communities, and mend an aching planet.
Featuring conversations with artists such as David Byrne, Renée Fleming, and evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson, Your Brain On Art is an authoritative guide to neuroaesthetics. The book weaves a tapestry of breakthrough research, insights from multidisciplinary pioneers, and compelling stories from people who are using the arts to enhance their lives.

5 reviews for Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us

  1. Danielle Waters

    I can’t stop thinking and talking about this book. I’m telling everyone I know to read it.

    The research of how art changes our brain is backing up my own experiences as an artist and arts educator for the last 10 years. This is important stuff.

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  2. Ouzola Customer

    Personal, community and Hope connectors run throughout… absolutely wonderful synopsis that clarifies HOW and WHY art is critical, yes critical to our lives, individually and collectively.The neuroscience of brain body connections defines pathways of HOPE for living abundant lives and non drugged solutions to substantive, literal HEALING. YAY! More please!

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  3. Pamela Underwood BFA, MA, Expressive Arts Therapist

    Since this new book came out in March I’ve been spreading the word about the exciting information in Your Brain On Art by Magsamen and Ross. This book is really about how the Expressive Arts have healed and rejuvenated human beings over the ages, but it is said in a delightfully scientific way (if I can put those two words together!). I’ve given away copies, written a book review and organized a book club to be able to discuss it with my favorite people!

    If you haven’t gotten to read the book yet, I want to share our “Cliff Notes” with you. We had a great time discussing Your Brain on Art .

    Whether you pick up the simple habit of humming a tune or begin to feed your desire to doodle after reading this book, your attention to your environment and your capacity for pleasure will multiply!

    Here are our Book Club’s Collective Essence Phrases to summarize the topics that we felt were most salient. On behalf of our “Your Brain on Art Book Club” we hope that you are encouraged to dive into this book and absorb what’s meaningful for your own life!

    When we talk about THE ARTS, we are talking about ALL of the expressive arts; sound vibration, poetry, visual art and movement.

    All of the arts have always been a healing resource. This important fact changes our biology. Expression through the arts can lead to healing and release.

    Incorporate art-making into day to day life to move energy, process emotion and invite new opportunity.

    Move towards disturbing images, they can transform us. There is poetry in the powerful, sad reality.

    Processing difficult images from the world, or within, releases energy rather than letting it build. This creates the possibility for both personal and collective change.

    Tinkering breeds an environment for “letting go”, expanding our brain toward innovation.

    The element of surprise, a sense of awe, and spontaneity are all really important to help our brain regenerate, expand and grow.

    Relaxing into the arts brings us directly to self. Our trauma requires it to heal.

    The arts are a human being’s most important palliative care.

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  4. Helena Wergles Ramos

    Eu ainda não estou nem na metade do livro e já estou revolucionada por ele. Já entendi que meu cérebro precisa de praticar artes (criatividade) com regularidade. A arte dá barato, e o livro explica isso com base na ciência. É maravilhoso. Recomendo muito pra todo mundo que sente conexão com as experiências estéticas, seja artes formais ou até simplesmente estar na natureza – caso você queira descobrir porque você se sente tão restaurado na natureza ou na prática ou contato com artes. É uma leitura que pode ajudar muitas pessoas a recuperarem a saúde mental de formas práticas através de práticas simples de artes, mesmo sem talento etc. Tudo sempre explicando os efeitos de vários estímulos sensoriais e emocionais etc – no cérebro. É uma leitura bem interessante e necessária.

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  5. Patricia Morrison

    This book blew my filkin’ mind! My mind was going in 100 directions at once as I learned so many ways that art affects us and how many people and Projects are out there exploring art and what it can do for humanity. For art’s benefits, you can View it, or make it; it works either way. If you let it, art is going to strengthen you mentally and physically, connect you to others, make you happier, and keep you younger. And there’s hard evidence for that. Plus technology is pushing art in so many useful future directions- it’s crazy! It’s a brave new world. So Read this book! (This review is completely unsolicited. )

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