Antonio Damasio: Art and Emotions

Antonio Damasio, the author of Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, opens this hour-long video featuring three substantive talks. Damasio is the head of the recently founded USC Brain and Creativity Institute.

Anthropologist Helen Fisher gives her talk, Art, Emotion, and Romantic Love, at exactly twenty minutes in. Isabelle Peretz, with The Emotional Power of Music, is at 39:00 minutes.

These talks were part of a symposium, Evolutionary Origins of Arts and Aesthetics, held last March at the Salk Institute. You can download videos of all the talks at the conference website, or simply catch them at the YouTube playlist, Evolutionary Origins of Arts and Aesthetics.

Come on, don’t you want to see, Art in Neanderthal and Paleolitic Cultures? Actually, this video starts by introducing the symposium, and if you stop at 5 minutes in, you can see Jean Pierre Changeux speaking broadly about the conference. Jean-Jacques Hublin’s presentation on Neanderthal art kicks in at 7:50, and Randall White follows with Paleolithic Art at 30 minutes. White’s talk is the most anthropological – and crucial to thinking about what art is and what art means and how we are to understand it.

The conference was put on by CARTA: Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny, with the tagline “to explore and explain the origin of human phenomena”.

CARTA is a virtual organization formed in order to promote transdisciplinary research into human origins, drawing on methods from a number of traditional disciplines spanning the humanities, social, biomedical, biological, computational & engineering and physical & chemical sciences.

CARTA is hosting another great symposium on October 2nd, 2009: Human and Non-Human Cultures.

4 thoughts on “Antonio Damasio: Art and Emotions

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  2. Interesting post, I love this kind of subject, here iss something I find really interesting in this subject.

    According to the late Stephen Jay Gould, for example, — art is inconsequential to human survival and procreation, and hence cannot be explained by evolution. Art is one of the inexplicable byproducts of the large human brain, a spandrel of evolution, as Gould called them.

    Unlike Gould, Dutton Argues that humankind’s universal interest in art is the result of human evolution. We enjoy sex, grasp facial expressions, understand logic and spontaneously acquire language—all of which make it easier for us to survive and produce children. He thinks that the interest in art belongs on this list of evolutionary adaptations.

    Dutton states that the type of painting that is preferred by most people around the globe is, of course, the landscape, and a very particular landscape — one with water, food sources, trees, hiding places, and a path to perhaps another source of food or comfort. It is, in short, the savanna, the home of our Pleistocene ancestors during the period in which we became recognizably human. Our preference for this environment is wired into our brains for “savannas contain more protein per square mile than any other landscape type” as well as offering protection from predators (quickly climb up the tree).

    And to tell you the truth about the two postures I can not choose one, I think that reality it is a mix between those two, and maybe other things too.

    here is the rest:

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