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differently than someone who is psychotic. It can be argued that the neurodiversity of our population is what makes human beings so complex and special. Collective thinking Although many people share beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes about certain things (i.e. murder is wrong), there will always be those who do not follow the norm. People have different life experiences that impact how they view the world and the situations they face. Art is subjective and so what might appeal to one person might not resonate with another. Consequently, it is an individual (rather than a collective) perspective that is often at play in connection with art. While one person might interpret an artistic piece completely different than another person, both interpretations can be accurate. Nonlingual expression Pleasure, which is what some people experience when moved by art, is linked to increased levels of dopamine, GABA and various neuropeptides in the brain. What triggers this reaction when viewing art is not known. However, what is understood is that colors, senses, sounds, textures, lighting, and smells can all activate pleasure centers in the brain. Images and trauma Images that are related to a traumatic event can trigger traumatic memories and flashbacks. Sensory input, such as sights, smells, tastes, sounds and touch, that are associated with a traumatic event, can activate the brain, specifically the amygdala. Like a smoke detector, the amygdala deciphers whether the incoming sensory information indicates a threat, and creates emotional memories in response to these particular sensations, sounds, images, tastes and smells. When a traumatized person is exposed to emotionally labeled stimuli, which for them is associated with a traumatic event, it can reactivate the same fight, flight or freeze responses that the person may have experienced at the time of the trauma. A psychological state Art can communicate emotions, pain and deeper feelings, and can reveal emotional disturbances. Think of the art Van Gogh and Picasso each created during their respective “Blue Periods,” as compared to some of their other works. Perhaps their use of darker colors and gloomy subject matter during these “Blue Periods” reflects a more depressed state of mind.

Profile for Oolite Arts

Altered States of Consciousness  

This publication serves as a complement to the exhibition Altered States of Consciousness. Inspired by an open-ended psychological term, th...

Altered States of Consciousness  

This publication serves as a complement to the exhibition Altered States of Consciousness. Inspired by an open-ended psychological term, th...

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