Biological basis of aesthetics

cameron shelley cpshelle at logos.waterloo.edu
Mon Sep 30 15:46:33 EST 1991


root at gatech.edu (Operator) writes:
> In article <1991Sep30.011017.9280 at acsu.buffalo.edu> lammens at acsu.buffalo.edu (Joe Lammens) writes:
> >I have the idea that aesthetics must have a biological basis, in the sense
> >that something aesthetically pleasing evokes different neural activation
> >patterns than something which is not. Is anything known about that?
> 
> Look into the Golden Section.  Leonardo did some stuff with it. The
> greeks thought that the golden ratio was the most aesthetically
> pleasing ratio there was.

Unfortunately, that opinion was due to their favour of numerology
rather than anything we'd recognize as an aesthetic hypothesis.  Mind
you, the "favour of numerology" represents a sort of aesthetics of
math, doesn't it?

So far as I know, Da Vinci and his fellows applied geometry to enhance
the `realism' of their art, but that strikes me as only one aesthetic
approach among several.

Does an elegant formula or good painting really stimulate a pleasure
center in the brain?  Which one?  (This is not rhetorical, if anyone
knows, please speak up---I'd like to hear it!)

				Cam



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