How aesthetics, culture, and technology impact our brains, bodies, and behaviours

In our new series, 'Weekly Supplement', we explore what's happening in culture. From new signals on our radar, to stories making us hopeful, to our latest obsessions, it's a regular serving of culture news and brain food.

Today we're diving into Design Hotels' new study, ‘Neuroaesthetics – Design for the Mind’, in partnership with Kinda Studios. The report explores how aesthetics, culture, and technology influence our emotions and behaviours through thoughtful design principles and scientific insights.

Key Highlights

→ The Science of Neuroaesthetics

An emerging field at the intersection of neuroscience, design, and psychology, neuroaesthetics explores the impact of aesthetic experiences on the brain and body. For example, when we feel goosebumps from a powerful piece of music or warmth in a cosy space, that’s neuroaesthetics in action. The concept revolves around the Aesthetic Triad:

  • The Sensory-Motor system, responsible for processing visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli.
  • The Emotional-Valuation system, linking aesthetic experiences to emotions like awe or disgust.
  • The Knowledge-Meaning system, shaping responses based on personal and cultural context

→ Neuroaesthetics in Architecture and Design

Applying neuroaesthetics in architecture means designing spaces that evoke emotions and positive reactions. The Neuro-Architecture Triad offers 3 guiding principles:

  • Coherence: Harmonious spaces create visual and sensory calmness.
  • Fascination: Curiosity and engagement without overstimulation.
  • Hominess: Fosters a sense of belonging and security.

→ Designing for Feeling

Designing for Feeling focuses on creating environments that foster belonging, community, transformation, and longevity.

  • Belonging: Creating warm, inclusive environments using textures, materials, and colours that evoke familiarity. Texture, scent, and circadian-aligned lighting cultivate belonging, offering warmth and a sense of inclusion.
  • Community: Rituals like communal dining or synchronised activities release oxytocin, reducing anxiety and depression. Immersive saunas and participatory design nurture connections within communities.
  • Transformation: Mystical states through art, VR, and nature alter perception, with immersive soundscapes leading to new insights. Rituals and spatial sound help foster personal transformation.
  • Longevity: Nature-centred design promotes well-being, as spending 20 minutes in nature daily reduces stress and boosts creativity. Nature immersion, biomaterials, and interspecies design support longevity.

As we explore neuroaesthetics, it's clear that our perception of beauty is deeply rooted in the brain's complex processes. Join us in this conversation, how does it shape your experience of art and design?

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