Batt R, Palmiero M, Nakatani C, van Leeuwen C, 2010, "Style and spectral power: Processing of abstract and representational art in artists and non-artists" Perception 39(12) 1659 – 1671
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Style and spectral power: Processing of abstract and representational art in artists and non-artists
Roger Batt, Massimiliano Palmiero, Chie Nakatani, Cees van Leeuwen
Received 11 June 2010, in revised form 8 November 2010; published online 10 January 2011
Abstract. We investigated cortical activity in response to abstract and representational paintings in artists and non-artists. Participants engaged in visual inspection of works of art and recalled them immediately afterwards through mental imagery. Meanwhile, we recorded their EEG, and calculated the power of their alpha band and theta band activity afterwards. In accordance with previous studies, theta band and alpha band power differed between artists and non-artists; these differences were found to depend, however, on the abstract or representational character of the paintings. Differences between abstract and representational art, and between inspection and imagery, occurred in alpha band power for non-artists only and in theta band power for artists. These results were taken to suggest that effects in artists reflect sustained focused attention and perceptual flexibility; in non-artists motivation and engagement with the task. The results were essentially whole-head, despite the local character of the measurement.
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