This article is from Public ID: Neureality. Source: The WASHINGTON POST. Topic: Visual China
If you think about it carefully, you will find that the theatre can spend a good and pleasant time in many ways is not logical. We were surrounded by strangers, bombarded by unusual scenes, and captured the silent body language and messages from actors.
However, on such a beautiful night, we usually enjoy the live performance more than sitting at home watching TV. We cry, laugh and blend in with our surroundings. We even go into a state of selflessness, feeling connected to a stronger being. What’s all this about?
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As for the mystery of art, we can find some clues in the field of science. Art is perceived by the mind, but its transport effect begins with the brain, whose delicate system receives and interprets art at a dazzling speed. Using neuroscience brain imaging technology and other technical tools, neuroaesthetics as a new field is exploring the relationship between art and brain.
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Being surrounded by others makes us more susceptible to art infection.
Social relations are one of the advantages of human beings – they give us the ability to learn knowledge by imitating others. We can acutely perceive and adapt to the emotions and behaviors of people around us because our brains are designed in this way.
For example, if you’ve ever been to an experimental art performance, but only you are an audience, you will feel an unprotected sense of exposure and embarrassment, because we are social animals. We yearn for social relations. The details we capture from the people around us enable our brains to better perceive the environment around us. It all started quietly when we entered the crowd.
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The experience as an audience provides a rich social and sensory environment to stimulate the division of labor among several parts of the brain. Social brain networks, including the temporal junction and medial prefrontal cortex, are involved in decoding facial expressions. It is also used in social cognition, such as the ability to sense the agitation and anxiety of people around you.
Mirror the nervous system, which contains cells that perform actions. This system is activated when we feel other people’s actions and emotions. It keeps us in line with the behavior of the people around us. When the lights go down, we sit still and applaud with others. It also helps us to interpret strong emotions and spread them. When we feel the emotional fluctuations of the people around us, when they are sad, frightened or happy, our own emotions will be magnified, and then be perceived by the people around us.
Social relations are an important function of the brain
Social relations are an important function of the brain. It helps us understand human behavior, a large part of which is used to assess the various actions and emotions of ourselves and those around us. Our brains like to share emotional fluctuations with others. This is one of the important reasons why we watch live performances (concerts, plays, operas, etc.) – our nervous impulses. With the ability of the brain to perceive emotions and sympathize with others, we can discover the meaning and understand the stories even if we appreciate the art of dancing without language at all.
Human beings like stories
Storytelling effectively conveys information from one person’s brain to another. We can acquire knowledge indirectly through other people’s reliable experience without really participating in it. And that’s why storytelling is so magical.
It’s like taking a flight for someone else to travel. Take the ballet “Swan Lake” for example. We can share the experience of the characters in the ballet, but not be as heartbroken as the characters.
Swan Lake is a story that directly shows the confrontation between good and evil. Princess Audrey, the protagonist of the story, was given a magic spell, and had to be turned into a swan in the daytime. Only at night could she appear in human form. Until she found true love, the magic spell could be lifted.
Prince Ziegfield vowed to marry her, but was lured by another woman, Ojetto, the Black Swan, who violated his oath and betrayed Odette after being tricked into it.
The whole ballet ended in tragedy, and it’s unreasonable that we like it. Studies have shown that people are more likely to sympathize with tragic characters. The plot of a tragedy triggers hormones, makes people desire to comfort these characters, and feels intimately connected with these characters.
Human activities are unavoidable
The main function of the main part of the brain is to direct people’s action, send action instructions to our muscles, so that the body can function and promote human survival according to their own needs.
The brain is highly stimulated by a range of factors – motion, body language, facial expressions, gestures, all of which may affect human survival and produce intersection with other people’s motor perception will stimulate the brain. Watching the “Swan Lake” ballet fully covers these motion perceptions.
But we are not just visually pulled by other people’s activities. Some of the subtle nerves in our bodies respond to other people’s activities.
When we watch dancers dancing on the stage, a mini-dance drama may be playing in our brains. According to mirror system theory, our brains automatically imitate other people’s behavior through their motor system. Let’s explain this phenomenon step by step through a series of actions.
When the dancer jumps and spins, our emotions will suddenly be excited and respond to the dancer’s movements.
Many scientists believe that humans map other people’s behavior to their own sensory system, conveying feelings through the brain and body to help us perceive other people’s emotions and empathize with them.
This enables us to present the performer’s independent movements in the brain as a complete and rich dance passage.
A series of jumps can evolve into an expression of desire in the brain, because we automatically capture the emotions contained in the movements.
The logic of art is a kind of nerve conduction
Scientists have studied all aspects of art and believe that certain factors, in particular, stimulate brain movement. Neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran has proposed several general artistic laws or some common patterns in great works of art that have spread across time and culture. These rules and patterns strongly activate our visual center. In theory, they used evolutionary survival responses. The Swan Lake dance drama takes advantage of the following survival responses:
Isolation: Isolating a single element helps the brain block other sensory information and focus. This reinforces our emotional response, especially when some elements are simplified to the most basic elements. When a group of swans appeared, Audrey was isolated and used only a few dance moves to make the audience recognize that she was playing a swan.
Contrast: When the object’s edge contrast is distinct, the brain is more likely to detect boundaries, especially for objects adjacent to each other. Swan Lake’s black-and-white color allows the brain to separate the protagonist.
Metaphor: Connecting seemingly unrelated elements can enhance emotions and arouse people’s empathy. Our brains associate and create tragic meanings in the analysis of Odette’s Swan Ballet movements, which deepens our perception of her pain.
Different shapes lead to different emotions.
Julia F. Christensen, a neuroscientist at City College, University of London, and her colleagues assessed participants’emotions by playing short silent ballet videos, in which neither music nor detailed facial expressions affected them.
As a result, the soft, circular and open body shape triggered positive emotional responses, such as watching Audrey’s dancing movements as she imitated the swan’s flight.
The outline and angular body shape can cause negative emotions. Julia and her team are deeply impressed and even shocked by the negative emotions caused by the black swan cone and asymmetric dance movements.
Music is the best emotional partner
In another study, Christensen and her colleagues played silent Dance Clips and music clips for participants. Subjects need to wear fingertip sweat detection devices to monitor their original emotional response.
In Christensen’s study, when music and dance cooperate with each other — that is, when sad music is accompanied by sad dance movements — participants’physical reactions and the emotional changes they declare in their reports are more obvious and prominent. If music and action are not consistent, the response is weak.
When music and dance are emotionally tuned, people’s emotions are much stronger than random movements and music combinations.
When you go to a ballet performance — or any other live performance — this experience will be highly controlled. If everything goes as planned and works properly, all factors point to a sense of empathy that the audience is infected with each other. In fact, your billions of brain cells are interacting with billions of other people’s brain cells, busy creating microscopic connections with an almost inevitable force that binds the minds of the audience present.
It all started when we subconsciously took ourselves as an audience and sat in the theatre. We will appreciate the story: it connects us closely with the actors, indirectly feels the whole plot, gives meaning to the actors’actions, responds to the attraction of specific visual cues, feels the ups and downs of emotions when the soundtrack and actors’ actions blend, and even lets the rising emotions bring themselves and weeks together. The audience is connected. As artists – choreographers, directors, playwrights, composers, performers – expect. And this amazing transformation is due to the structure of the human brain.
Art has been born from the human brain for tens of thousands of years, and every human culture has contributed to the creation of art. However, scientists are just beginning to understand how the brain perceives and creates art, and why the brain perceives and creates art.
Like many works of art, the brain is largely a mysterious object. The secret to be discovered is how the fragile folds in our skulls conceive, create and think about art while experiencing the transmission of art from our bodies to remain outside the universe, time and reality.
This article is from Public ID: Neureality, Source: The WASHINGTON POST, Translation: Yilan, Revision: Lacey, Subtitle: EON