Specialists from the Wellcome Laboratory of Neurobiology of the University College London (UCL) published a report in the PLoS One magazine in which claimed that seeing or hearing something that we consider beautiful activates the same brain area.
“So the question arises of whether we have an innate abstract sense of beauty, which can cause a strong emotional excitation either the source of it is visual or auditory. It’s time to answer it”, says Professor Semir Zeki.
The study involved a total of 21 volunteers from different cultural backgrounds, who were asked to evaluate a series of paintings and music melodies as beautiful, neutral or bad.
Then the experts showed them pictures or played them music while they were subjected to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to record the activity of their brain.
They saw that the area of the middle orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the pleasure and reward center of the brain, “lights up” more strongly when the subjects were seeing or hearing something that had previously described as “beautiful.”
Previously the middle orbitofrontal cortex has already been associated with the appreciation of beauty. However, this is the first time that scientists managed to see that beautiful visual and auditory stimuli activate the same brain region, suggesting that there may exist the innate cerebral understanding of beauty.