Re: Cognitive flexibility (was: Re: Robin's Arts Post)
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 00:22:27 EDT

In a message dated 9/27/1999 8:30:54 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

To what are we referring when we speak of "art"?

>>Quite often for some
>reason it is used to denote only the static visual arts such as painting
and sculpture. N. distinguishes between art and literature here. Despite this distinction it often refers also to the various arts in general. My use of the term reflects a comprehensive definition.>>

Since you asked, when I referred (in that context) to art, I mean "the arts," those subjects which are deemed nonacademic, and that includes a panoply of disciplines, including -- but not limited to -- performing arts, music, movement and visual art.. I also consider architecture, medicine, commercial art, some athletics and computer science 'arts', but not everyone does.

        >><snip, sorry) learning--not entertainment,
        distraction, communication of historical, moral, et cetera notions, 
        of navigating interpersonal conflict, and so on---could be the primary
        effect or function of art.  Learning in the sense that she mentions 
        something at a relatively low level, like neural network training.  
        anyone know of any studies in which we have before-and-after neural
        activity data (say, from an fMRI or PET) on people engaging in 
        viewing, or listening to various types of artworks?  (I would also 
ask the
        same for the playing of video games.)  Such studies may now point to 
        tenuous or broad correlations or may lack them entirely.  There may 
be a
        way to pursue this before nanotech, though.>>

Your post is a little over my head intellectually, but taken with great interest. I too want to know more about the brain's reaction to art, as well as art's effect on movement, sexuality and health. And for that matter, it's effect on the brain's "Emotional Intelligence " (sorry another buzzword)

( ; - ) we already know how art has an effect on fashion)

An example from my life is that my gramma was an 82 year concert pianist who suffered a debilitating stroke, and her doctor was astonished as she re-mastered the English language bit by bit by watching PBS, which my sister said had those "big words" she had forgotten. He believed that her continuing piano playing helped her to heal and recover, and to resist further damage (she suffered more strokes and always recovered mental acuity) . Music is one of those disciplines which is said to -- when practiced early in children -- really create more flexible neural pathways in the brain, especially for language learning skills. Whether this has scientific back-up or not, I don't know. Think so.. remember reading something about....

>>I am not exactly sure what you mean by "nonlinear" here. Art can

many different attributes; not all art follows or promotes very unusual chains of association, if this is what you mean by "nonlinear". (Sorry if I'm making a big deal about it but that is one of the buzzwords that get quite recklessly thrown around nowadays.) >>

Ha ha!!! You are actually correct, random use of buzzwords is onerous and I apologize. I was using nonlinear - since it appealed to me - as in Edward de bono's "lateral" thinking, meaning not basing conclusions on a linear - "if this is true, then this, and therefore, this, etc." -- following one thing to another in a logical linear path. Rather nonlinear in this sense means coming to conclusions (or images, ideas) from taking lots of different angels, or directions -- or perhaps even kludging (SP?) things together in random ways. Artists' processes demand this flexible substance of thought, since art is a blend of objective use of materials and a subjective chain of decision making that boggles the user -- whereas that sort of thought -- well, it would be unwelcome in some logic based scientific practices and memorization techniques for some subjects.... yadi dadee,