chapter  10
21 Pages

Human brain evolution, biology, and the early emergence of art

Introduction How can one analyze the significance of the findings on artists with localized brain damage, neuropsychological clues to art from non-artists, or the role of sensory loss in art production, without a discussion of art's origin against the background of human evolution and biological influences? Exploring these origins sheds light on the brain's control in human art production and appreciation. One form of cognition on which art relies, as does language, is abstraction and symbolic representation. The biological and neural mechanisms supporting cognitive abstraction are assumed to have provided the underpinning for the practice of art. However, anthropologists, biologists, archaeologists, and evolutionary scientists are not clear on the acquired sequence of traits leading to the appearance of art. This is largely due to varied interpretations of the available fossil record and archaeological findings. Still, despite controversies, debates, and myriad of opinions, a pattern of agreement does emerge. A synthesis of this pattern is presented here and additional views on the origins are introduced.