Art and cognition: does style of art making influence mood and how we perceive visual stimuli?

Davies, Jay Louise (2019). Art and cognition: does style of art making influence mood and how we perceive visual stimuli? University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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Given the reported success of art therapy as a tool for improving psychological and physical health, there is much to be asked about the underlying mechanisms of creative activity that cause improvement in health. To date, specific components of art making have not been extensively studied in relation to improving well-being, mood and cognitive functions such as memory and perceptual abilities. It can be asked whether it is the personal, expressive aspect of engaging in art that makes it emotionally relieving, or if it is the technical aspects requiring cognitive focus and therefore distraction. Expression and technicality during art making are simultaneously investigated in relation to cognitive functioning, asking specifically if technicality during drawing can aid memory ability and attention. The purpose of this study was to examine characteristics of art-making in relation to both cognitive functioning and well-being, and to further research into recreational activities as tools for cognitive improvement. Following four sessions of different styles of art-making, we report general improvement in ability to detect change in a visual stimulus. However, improvement was not influenced by type of art activity. Moreover, expression during art-making was not effective in improving mood or stress. Future work into visual art activities should pay careful attention to baseline levels of creativity in individuals, to fully measure the effectiveness of exposure to art-making in novices.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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