Original article:

Toward an integrative approach of cognitive neuroscientific and evolutionary psychological studies of art

Evolutionary Psychology 8(4): 695-719 Johan De Smedt, Department of Philosophy and Ethics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, johan.desmedt@ugent.beHelen De Cruz, Centre for Logic and Analytic Philosophy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium


This paper examines explanations for human artistic behavior in two reductionist research programs, cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. Despite their different methodological outlooks, both approaches converge on an explanation of art production and appreciation as byproducts of normal perceptual and motivational cognitive skills that evolved in response to problems originally not related to art, such as the discrimination of salient visual stimuli and speech sounds. The explanatory power of this reductionist framework does not obviate the need for higher-level accounts of art from the humanities, such as aesthetics, art history or anthropology of art.


cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, art

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)

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