<p>Abstract:</p><p> Theories of expression articulate a link between the artwork and the affective state it elicits. Aestheticiansâboth psychologists and philosophersâseek a âstructural correspondenceâ between the artwork and the feeling it conveys. </p><p> Early psychological aestheticiansâHeinrich Wolfflin and Gestalt theoristsâconsidered neural âisomorphismsâ and innate âsympathetic modelingâ the necessary links. Deweyâs theory centered around âresonance,â another structural connection. None of these supposed links was empirically verifiable, and none actually bridged the divide between object and feeling. Early psychological experiments confirmed correlations between bodily attitude and movement, and both felt and communicated emotion; these investigations confirmed the speculations of Wolfflin as to the link between bodily movement and perceived feeling. </p><p> Recent neuroscience, in uncovering the âmirror neuron systemâ (MNS), has brought forward the long-sought empirical evidence of a reliable correlation between feeling and movement, valuable research for the field of dance aesthetics particularly. The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio constructs a model linking feeling to movement and thus to kinesthesia: for Damasio, feeling is kinesthesia. To understand Damasioâs model is to understand the underlying cellular mechanics of dance expression. Damasioâs model also resolves misconceptions that have brought previous models of dance expression to contradictory or otherwise untenable results. Far from urging the abandonment of phenomenological approaches to art, Damasioâs model describes the dual nature of kinesthesia, thus delivering a powerful way to understand the mechanisms working beneath the phenomenological surface, while leaving room for phenomenological speculation. </p>
The Journal of Aesthetic Education – University of Illinois Press
Published: Nov 28, 2017
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