Scientific studies increasingly confirm what human beings across cultures and throughout time have long known…

we are wired for art

Two hands rubbing together
A little girl smelling a flower
A boy with coloured chalk dust on his face
Ripples on the water
Close up of eye
Close up of eye

Using non-invasive tools, scientists are peering into the brain to learn how engagement with the arts rewires neural circuitry and creates new pathways through the process of neuroplasticity. As sensations of light, sound, smell, taste and touch enter the brain, they set off a complex cascade of neurobiological effects, sculpting and shaping neurological functions and structures. Interacting with the arts, as maker or beholder, sparks a dynamic interplay of neurotransmitters, triggering billions of changes that shape the way we feel, think and behave.

So what is NeuroArts?

Neuroarts is the transdisciplinary study of how the arts and aesthetic experiences measurably change the body, brain, and behavior and how this knowledge is translated into specific practices that advance health and wellbeing


Making art can significantly reduce stress hormone cortisol in 45 minutes


Museum visits are being prescribed by doctors to decrease loneliness and increase cognitive skills


One or more art experience a month can extend your life by ten years


Sound practitioners are using vibration and frequency to optimize creativity and cognitive performance


Smell informs as much as 75 percent of your emotions


Tuning forks in C and G create sound waves to soothe stress response and elicits relaxation


Singing and humming activate the vagus nerve, engaging the parasympathetic systems to make you feel good


Interactive exhibitions are dissolving the boundary between art and viewer, building neuroplasticity


Playing music increases synapses and gray matter which supports cognitive skills


Arts support emotional resilience in children and adolescents as they learn


Performing arts increases perspective-taking, vital to executive function

These are just a few of the findings emerging from neuroaesthetics research. Advanced technologies including brain imaging and biomarker measurement are providing important data about the arts unique ability to alter a complex physiological network of interconnected systems including your immune, circulatory and respiratory responses as well as higher-order cognitive, affective, reward and motor functions, among others.

Interior of modern art gallery

The arts literally make us heathier, happier, and smarter

This exciting scientific frontier is liberating the arts from their status as entertainment or an elite culture activity and reimaging them as the transformational vehicles that they’ve always been. When you make and respond to the arts, you improve your learning and memory, creativity and innovation, social connection and quality of life, to name just a few benefits.

Pianist on a grand piano

Composers are writing music that activates the relaxation response

By understand how our brains and bodies change from visual arts, dance, expressive writing, immersive arts and other art and aesthetic experiences, we can not only enlist these approaches for individuals but for communities around the world.

Soldiers entering a plane

The military is using arts, to help fully recover from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries

Already, composers are writing music that activates relaxation responses. The military is using the arts to help service members recover from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. Businesses are designing work environments that spark creativity, collaboration and innovation. Healthcare and other frontline sectors are incorporating arts practices to combat and reduce burnout. Cities are designing more housing that promotes wellbeing and fosters community. School systems are integrating the arts to enhance attention and learning, but also to reduce stress and anxiety and increase collaboration. Countries around the world are prescribing the arts through doctors, social workers and mental health professional for a range of issues including loneliness and isolation. And there is a large and exciting movement aimed at public and private policy makers in all sectors to make the neuroarts field part of mainstream medicine, education and public health. 

Beautiful office interior

Businesses are designing work environment that spark creativity, collaboration and innovation

These examples of the many uses of the arts to create impact are only a small preview of what is already happening today.  What if we could more fully understand and unleash the superpower of the arts and aesthetics?  How might we as individuals, communities and societies effectively use these new ways of knowing to solve some of humanity’s biggest problems?