Thursday, November 26, 2009

Art and Thinking

When I read some of the theories about how art began with humanity, I can't help but compare them to how drawing develops in children. There is such a strong connection between drawing development and cognitive development, as well as manual development, in children that it is hard to believe that "art" began as some dream state as some might claim. I'm not saying that it doesn't create an altered mental state, because it does. I'm just saying that art's beginning is entwined with the process of thought and the communication thereof. The existence of pictographs before writing also strongly points to a hand and hand relationship between art and communication. There is research that shows a connection between language and cognitative ability:

Neural correlates of Early Stone Age toolmaking: technology, language and cognition in human evolution.
Does Language Shape What We Think?

So it really shouldn't be that hard of a leap to connect drawing to the cognition process. Recently, I watched an older TED talk which showed this connection in a interesting way. I'll let Gever Tulley explain...

His observation that the act of decoration is part of the creative problem solving process, a method for letting the mind wander freely for a while, presents an possible insight into how our minds work. Tulley takes things a step further, introducing how manual development helps us mentally in this next talk.

I like the idea of his tinkering school. I like it even better that he can back his views up with anthropology and other science.

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