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Viewing art creates the same pleasure as being in love

Staring into a beautiful painting can create the same level of pleasure as gazing into the eyes of someone you love, say researchers.

The study in question involved Professor Semir Zeki scanning the brains of volunteers as they looked at art such as paintings by Claude Monet. The brain scans actually showed that staring into the depths of great works of art activates the same part of the brain that perks up when we fall for someone in a romantic capacity.

Viewing artwork releases our feel good chemical which is known as dopamine, into the orbito-frontal cortex of the brain which is what causes the feelings we know as pleasure.

Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London, scanned the brains of volunteers as they looked over 28 pictures. The scans showed that blood flow increased in the areas of the brain which were usually associated with romance and being in love.

“We have recently found that when we look at things we consider to be beautiful, there is increased activity in the pleasure reward centres of the brain.” Explained Zeki. “There is a great deal of dopamine in this area, also known as the ‘feel-good’ transmitter.” He added.

This research adds further weight and evidence to a previous study which found that art can speed the recovery time for those in hospital, meaning that in the future it may be used as a cost effective method of increasing the welfare and mental health of the general public.

View the original Telegraph report.

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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