Science Says Art is Good for You


Art offers breathing room for the spirit.

John Updike

A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows that visiting art museums can ease chronic paid, reduce anxiety and depression, and forestall dementia.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania compiled and reviewed over 100 science articles to reach their conclusions.

Among other things, they discovered that visiting art museums decreases stress and anxiety, and that viewing figurative art, in particular, lowers blood pressure.

They also found that art reduces the intensity of chronic pain, increases a person’s life span, and lessens the likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia.

Art, moreover, induces higher cognitive functioning among people with dementia.

Art museums also affect the way people interact.

Museum visitors report feeling less isolated, more empathetic, and better equipped to connect socially with others.

The researchers plan next to study how specific museum programming affects wellbeing “to further enhance the impact of art museums.”

They also plan to study how digital art affects health and happiness.

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