Art and the Brain: Chapter 16. Perception and Frames of Reference


Frames of Biological Evolution
Evolutionary Psychology?
Individual Perspectives, Memory, and Imagination
The Creativity Question


By the 19th century, a range of ideas about localized function, human psychology, human physiology, and environmental impacts were evident in the neurosciences. Some historical threads connected to previous paradigms; others show disconnects and/or transitions. The impact of Darwinian ideas about evolution, for example, not only reframed ideas about who we are, but in doing so eventually morphed psychology from an area largely studied through philosophy into a scientific discipline with an increasingly biological connection, although philosophy of mind and theology continue to function as fields of study. Simultaneously, romantic and transcendent ideas were re-invigorated by those who were offended by a disconnection from spirituality that they felt was implied by the evolutionary proposals. Within this reconceptualization, elements of each transition are most evident in the “small print.” One of the most compelling threads is how art, science, philosophy, moral, and ethical influences are a part of each period’s conversation — something this book has tried to capture. If the iterations speak to cultural plasticity, do they have anything to say about broader topics of interest currently such as brain plasticity and evolutionary psychology?