Visual Perception in Arts and Neuroscience

Award Holder

Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

Higher Education Institute

Engineering, University of Leicester

Project Summary

How do we perceive art and what is it so special about it? What processes in our brain lead us to appreciate and enjoy a piece of art in a museum? This is a fascinating question that should be ideally approached by interdisciplinary teams involving neuroscientists and artists, among others. In spite of the potential of such interactions, given the relevance of the questions that can be posed and scientifically addressed, the links between science and arts have been so far very limited. However, it is very interesting that visual artists are aware (at least intuitively) of some principles of visual perception in Neuroscience since very long. For example, Neuroscientists study issues such as colour perception, how shape and depth are perceived, etc., which are well-known in Arts. In this respect, the basic idea of our project is to combine knowledge about visual perception from arts and neuroscience and create an exhibition with a selection of about 10 canvases using, and at the same time showing, principles of visual perception. The goal is not only to create novel art pieces, but also to use these canvases as an engaging way to show these neuroscience principles to the general public, which explain something as interesting as how do we see. For this purpose, each of the canvases will be accompanied with a simple and graphical explanation of the neuroscience principle used. The set of works to be presented in this Art & Science exhibition will be also used to further study how people look at art pieces in the museum environment, which is the topic of our current Beyond Text award.


digital print on canvas

Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.