• And so rather than sitting and pondering forever whether a visual is an art work or a scientific image, it's more productive to say a multitude of images exist in the world—and to ask what they do. Where do they live? What kinds of inquiries do they prompt? What do they be of the viewer?
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Learning, Arts and the Brain: The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition

  • October 21, 2011
  • By a2ru      
In 2004, the Dana Foundation established the Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium, composed of nine cognitive neuroscientists at seven major institutions.


 

In 2004, the Dana Foundation established the Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium, composed of nine cognitive neuroscientists at seven major institutions. Consortium director Michael Gazzaniga, Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, writes that the purpose of the consortium was “to grapple with the question of why arts training has been associated with higher academic performance. Is it simply that smart people are drawn to ‘do’ art—to study and perform music, dance, drama—or does early arts training cause changes in the brain that enhance other important aspects of cognition?” The consortium universities each did three-year studies examining whether early arts training can cause changes in the brain that enhance other aspects of cognition. Gazzaniga writes carefully, “The consortium can now report findings that allow for a deeper understanding of how to define and evaluate the possible causal relationships between arts training and the ability of the brain to learn in other cognitive domains. The research includes new data about the effects of arts training that should stimulate future investigation. The preliminary conclusions we have reached may soon lead to trustworthy assumptions about the impact of arts study on the brain; this should be helpful to parents, students, educators, neuroscientists, and policymakers in making personal, institutional, and policy decisions.” This publication contains specifics of each of the consortium members’ research programs.

Learning, Arts and the Brain: The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition. Ed. Michael Gazzaniga, Carolyn Asbury, and Barbara Rich. New York. Dana Press, 2008.