Aida Lashinsky, Reporter

Studies have shown that different pieces of art can affect a person’s mind and mood. Possibly looking at different pictures can alter the psychological feelings inside the brain of the person observing it. The amount of these psychological works affect someone’s thinking varies for everyone.
Photo By: Erin King, Photographer

By: Aida Lashinsky, Reporter

Art: it’s in books, television, advertising, and architecture. People are surrounded by creative expression constantly as they move about their fast-paced lives. What many people don’t stop to consider, however, is just how much art can influence the subconscious mind.

A person presented with a painting is able to consciously describe the perceived subject and emotion of the piece. But as one looks at the image, their mind is taking in more information than they realize. Art can affect a person’s attitude and alertness, and on a cellular level, mirror neurons, brain cells which respond when observing an action, cause them to feel connected with the painting, through a process called embodied cognition (cognition influenced by physical factors of a body in response to its environment).

It’s no wonder people feel moved when observing a particularly attractive piece of art; their brain is actually placing them in the setting of the painting, and providing the emotion that the subject induces.

Freshman Mallie Eberhardt believes that artists and art lovers alike can share the emotion of the work. “If you love art and you are stressed you can just get a paint brush and [paint] something,” says Eberhardt.

It’s not just the subject of the art that triggers our subconscious mind, though. Shape and color play large roles as well. Abstract art is able to draw different responses from onlookers, depending on preference and how they perceive the piece. In a study at a Baltimore art museum, visitors wore 3-D glasses and observed a series of abstract images and sculptures,  recording the feeling they had with each piece. The results showed that certain shapes and forms proved popular by the majority of the people at the museum.

Color is also very important in drawing emotion, as people associate different shades with different situations and feelings. It plays a large role in our understanding of the world, and art is able to use color in order to change people’s perspective. For example, paintings in shades of blue, green, and purple, may cause a person to associate with feelings of sadness or cold, as opposed to warm shades of orange, yellow, and red.

Freshman Jacob Miller describes how the color green can induce a calming effect on people, as well as feelings of harmony and security. “There’s studies done that say color affects people’s emotion. Like, green can make you a happier emotion,” says Miller.

Scientists are continuing to study the different ways that art can affect the mind, but how can we use this information? One technique is art therapy, which uses art to help heal issues with anxiety, addictions, social skills, and self awareness issues.

Junior Ami Chandarana says, “Some people have anger management problems, and they can use therapy. Like if they’re in a room painted blue, it’s a nice and calm environment. And they can stimulate their senses, [calming] them down. Instead of putting them in a red room where [the color] can aggravate their senses.”

Art is undoubtedly powerful. It allows people to experience shapes and creation outside the laws of the natural world. A mere shift in train of thought could reveal that it’s already influencing one’s subconscious mind.