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Neural Correlates of Beauty, by Hideaki Kawabata and Semir Zeki

01/01/2004 (Aprox)


In 2004, Zeki and Hideaki Kawabata, a professor at Keio University in Japan, published in the Journal of Neurophysiology an article entitled “Neural Correlates of Beauty.” This brings us right to the heart of the neuroaesthetic enterprise: The topic is beauty, the methodology is brain imaging, and the main product is a correlation.


The purpose of the study was to find brain areas that would respond specifically to one category of painting (for example, the portrait) over others as well as brain areas that would be “consistently active” across subjects when they perceive a painting they judge beautiful or ugly. This strategy, the authors explained, allowed them to circumvent the question of how what an individual regards as ugly or beautiful is conditioned by culture, education, and inclination (Kawabata and Zeki 2004, 1699). As it turns out, since these factors cannot be switched off, the authors do not really circumvent them but just ignore them—and with them, most of what makes something be “art” or “aesthetic,” “beautiful” or “ugly.”

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

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Hideaki Kawabata, professor at Keio University.

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See Hideaki Kawabata's profile at Keio University's website to find other articles and researches by him:

Hideaki Kawabata

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Published in 15/01/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Chap. 2: Neuroaesthetics:


01/01/1997 (Aprox)01/01/1999 (Aprox)Coining of the word NeuroaestheticsCoining of the word Neuroaesthetics
01/01/2010 (Aprox)Neuroaesthetics as a field of studyNeuroaesthetics as a field of study
01/01/2013 (Aprox)Foundation of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical AestheticsFoundation of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
01/01/2008 (Aprox)Coining of the term NeuroarthistoryCoining of the term Neuroarthistory
01/01/2004 (Aprox)Neural Correlates of Beauty, by Hideaki Kawabata and Semir ZekiNeural Correlates of Beauty, by Hideaki Kawabata and Semir Zeki
01/01/2000 (Aprox)fMRI Experiment on Art Creation, by Robert SolsofMRI Experiment on Art Creation, by Robert Solso
01/01/1964 (Aprox)Andy Warhol's Brillo BoxAndy Warhol's Brillo Box
01/01/1989 (Aprox)The Power of Images, by David FreedbergThe Power of Images, by David Freedberg
01/01/2007 (Aprox)01/01/2009 (Aprox)David Freedberg's articles on neuroaesthetics
01/01/1992 (Aprox)Discovery of Mirror NeuronsDiscovery of Mirror Neurons
01/01/2015 (Aprox)Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, by Alva NöeOut of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, by Alva Nöe
01/01/1993 (Aprox)Andy Warhol: Brillo Box, by Arthur DantoAndy Warhol: Brillo Box, by Arthur Danto