Are artistic brains different?

07.08.2022 - By CrowdScience

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Artists can conjure up people, cities, landscapes and entire worlds using just a pencil or a paintbrush. But some of us struggle to draw simple stick figures or a circle that’s round. CrowdScience listener Myck is a fine artist from Malawi, and he’s been wondering if there’s something special about his brain.

Myck takes Marnie Chesterton on a tour of his studio, where he paints onto huge canvases sewn from offcuts of local fabric. He’s a self-taught artist and he’s convinced he sees things differently to other people. So where does that all come from? Do artists have different brains from non-artists? And what is it that makes someone a creative person, while others are not?

With the help of a jigsaw puzzle, a large metal donut, a swimming cap covered in electrodes and and a really boring brick, Marnie probes the brains of people working to find answers to those questions. She’ll be learning about how we don’t really see what we think we see, why creative people’s brains are like private aeroplanes, and how daydreaming can be a full time job.

Contributors:
Rebecca Chamberlain, Goldsmiths University of London
Robert Pepperell, Cardiff School of Art
Ariana Anderson, UCLA
Darya Zabelina, University of Arkansas

Presented by Marnie Chesterton
Produced by Ben Motley for the BBC World Service

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