Semir Zeki, a neuroscientist who is fascinated by the cognitive basis of beauty, pleasure and love, has measured the different ways our brains respond when we're making an aesthetic judgement compared to a perceptual judgement. So, in this case, he looked at how people's brains responded when they looked at two paintings and decided which was more beautiful compared to looking at two paintings and deciding which was more brightly coloured.
I think it would be interesting to see what areas are activated in two people who are looking at one object where one participant finds the object aesthetically pleasing and the other dislikes it. Is there any indication if aesthetic perception activates the dopamine system in some way? Minerva, Mon, 11th Feb 2013
I always wondered why certain experiences register as fun or pleasant that don't seem to have any benefit. Maybe similar experiences do have a benefit, and it's just riding the evolutionary coat tails. For example, why is snow sticking to the trees beautiful? Why is a sunny summer day so elevating to the mood compared to an overcast one, even if the weather is not threatening? And of course, things like music. cheryl j, Sat, 16th Feb 2013
I think we sometimes ignore the social and cultural aspects of enjoying and liking things. Howard Becker showed how people learn to like things that they initially hate (in this instance smoking marijuana) from the people around them and how really, they were talked into seeing the dizziness and other effects as pleasant. I rather suspect that drinking and smoking is the same.
I'm in Oz, in drought, and my heart sings with all day gentle rain, and to a lesser degree, heavier rain. Hot sunny days I find depressing, I LOATHE high winds, and high winds and hot days set me to low grade terror. (Bushfires). menageriemanor, Tue, 19th Feb 2013