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Medial prefrontal cortex involvement in aesthetic appreciation of paintings: a tDCS study

  • Zaira CattaneoEmail author
  • Chiara Ferrari
  • Susanna Schiavi
  • Ivan Alekseichuk
  • Andrea Antal
  • Marcos Nadal
Research Article
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Abstract

Among the brain regions involved in the aesthetic evaluation of paintings, the prefrontal cortex seems to play a pivotal role. In particular, consistent neuroimaging evidence indicates that activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (mainly in the left hemisphere) and in medial and orbital sectors of the prefrontal cortex is linked to viewing aesthetically pleasing images. In this study, we focused on the contribution of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in mediating aesthetic decisions about paintings. We found that enhancing excitability in this region via anodal tDCS led participants to judge paintings as more beautiful. Although significant, the effects were moderate, possibly due to the neutral affective value of the artworks we used, suggesting that activity in mPFC may be critically dependent on the affective impact of the paintings.

Keywords

Neuroaesthetics Medial prefrontal cortex tDCS Brain stimulation Beauty 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a PRIN Grant (2015WXAXJF) by Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research to Z.C and by Mondino Foundation “Ricerca Corrente” funds.

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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zaira Cattaneo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Chiara Ferrari
    • 1
  • Susanna Schiavi
    • 1
  • Ivan Alekseichuk
    • 3
  • Andrea Antal
    • 3
    • 6
  • Marcos Nadal
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Brain Connectivity CenterIRCCS Mondino FoundationPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Clinical NeurophysiologyGeorg-August UniversityGoettingenGermany
  4. 4.Human Evolution and Cognition Group (EvoCog)University of the Balearic IslandsPalma de MallorcaSpain
  5. 5.Associated Unit to CSICIFISCPalma de MallorcaSpain
  6. 6.Medizinische Fakultät, Institut für Medizinische PsychologieOtto-von-Guericke-Universität MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany

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