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Brain of the beholder: The neuroscience of beauty

By Dyani Lewis

Doyen of the field of neuroesthetics Prof Semir Zeki explains the neuronal behaviour that underlies perceptions of ‘beauty’.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Hi I'm Dyani Lewis, thanks for joining us. What is beauty? Is there an objective way of defining what it is that makes something beautiful or is beauty truly, as the old saying goes, in the eye of the beholder? These questions were for centuries the domain of philosophers and artists evolutionary biologists since Darwin have also speculated on the question of whether there are universal features of beauty that hold true for different species.

But it's only been very recently that neurobiologists have stepped into the fray, with developments in brain imaging techniques, we can now start to ask not only what do you find beautiful. But also what actually is going on in your brain when you lay eyes on a beautiful person, or a stunning landscape painting, or when you hear a spine tingling piece of music.

To tell us about our brain on beauty, I'm joined on Up Close today by a pioneer in the field of neuroesthetics. Semir Zeki is Professor of Neuroesthetics in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at University College London, welcome to Up Close Semir.

SEMIR ZEKI
Thank you for having me.

DYANI LEWIS
Semir, let's start with human beauty. When we talk...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.