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We know little about the neurologic bases of art production. The idea that the right brain hemisphere is the “artistic brain” is widely held, despite the lack of evidence for this claim. Artists with brain damage can offer insight into these laterality questions. The authors used an instrument called the Assessment of Art Attributes to examine the work of two individuals with left-brain damage and one with right-hemisphere damage. In each case, their art became more abstract and distorted and less realistic. They also painted with looser strokes, less depth and more vibrant colors. No unique pattern was observed following right-brain damage. However, art produced after left-brain damage also became more symbolic. These results show that the neural basis of art production is distributed across both hemispheres in the human brain.
Chatterjee, A., Bromberger, B., Smith, W. B., Sternschein, R., & Widick, P. (2011). Artistic Production Following Brain Damage: A Study of Three Artists. Leonardo, 44 (5), 405-410. http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/LEON_a_00240
Date Posted: 16 February 2015
This document has been peer reviewed.