Art and brain development
|Copying of designs,
Discrimination of shapes e.g. picking out a camouflaged object,
Understanding geometric properties,
Global holistic processing,
Understanding of metaphors,
Analytical time sequence processing.
|Sensations on both side of face,
Sound perceived by both ears,
For years, school systems across the nation dropped the arts to concentrate on getting struggling students to pass tests in reading and math. Yet now, a growing body of brain research suggests that teaching the arts may be good for students across all disciplines.
Scientists are now looking at, for instance, whether students at an arts high school who study music or drawing have brains that allow them to focus more intensely or do better in the classroom.
Brain research in the past several years is just beginning to uncover some startling ideas about how students learn. First came the proof, some years ago, that our brains do not lose brain cells as we get older, but are always capable of growing.
Now neuroscientists are investigating how training students in the arts may change the structure of their brains and the way they think. They are asking: Does putting a violin in the hands of an elementary school student help him to do math better? Will learning to dance or paint improve a child's spacial ability or ability to learn to read?
Many people question the purpose of art. They acknowledge an aesthetic approach but ignore any possible positive benefits of a more practical nature. Contrary to popular belief, art is not purely aesthetic. It is not a product with no possible effects outside of the obvious - an "artistic" product. Art is not of less use than science in preparing individuals for the "real" world. In fact, the contrary is true. Art is very important in helping the brain reach its full potential.
How does art accomplish this? It introduces the brain to diverse cognitive skills that help us unravel intricate problems. Art activates the creative part of our brain - the part that works without words and can only express itself non-verbally. Art, in thought and through the creative processes, activates the imaginative and creative side, the spatial and intuitive side of our brain. Art jumps over the process of linear and logical thinking. It trains the brain to shift into thinking differently, of broaching old problems in new ways.
This is what makes art so important. It benefits the brain by training it to think outside the box. It helps children understand concepts with greater ease. It aids children in getting better grades. In the real world, the artistic side of the brain helps engineers solve problems. It guides individuals to cerate solutions. Art is the property of fine artists; it is also the product of engineers, technicians and computer designers. Art, in many different ways, helps people make the world a better place.
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