8 Reasons Why Art Improves Your Thinking [Infographic]


Have you ever been to an art gallery and felt a little out of your depth? Do you see groups of people stood in front of a painting or sculpture and wonder what it is they could possibly be pondering about? Is picking up a paintbrush akin to speaking a foreign language to you? Perhaps it’s time to embrace your artistic side – it could actually make you smarter!

Getting involved in art in some way, whether that’s learning about it or doing it yourself, really can improve your thinking in several ways, including heightening brain activity, making you more attentive and enhancing your wellbeing. And we’re here to tell you how.

8 Reasons Why Art Improves Your Thinking [Infographic]

8 Reasons Why Art Improves Your Thinking, an infographic from The Studio

Go on, pick up a paintbrush or pop down to your nearest art gallery and you could improve your thinking and feel smarter in no time at all.

Transcript & Sources

8 reasons why art improves your thinking

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty” —John Keats

Since Plato, the beauty found in art has been synonymous with expanding the intellect.

But can art have a tangible effect on improving the human mind?

Thanks to modern science, the positive benefits of art on the brain can now be measured…

1. It heightens brain activity

According to: Dana Foundation

An experiment involving 14 art viewers and a fake Rembrandt showed that scrutinising the value of artwork heightens activity in regions of the brain associated with reward.

2. It exercises our survival instinct

According to: Paris Descartes University, University of Geneva

Viewing art makes the ‘fight or flight’ part of our brains more responsive to depictions of fear – an impulse that warned our ancestors of threats.

3. It develops core skills

According to: Center on the Developing Child, Harvard; PLOS ONE

Practising executive function activities such as drawing has been shown to significantly improve reasoning and teamwork skills for children aged 3-5.

4. It enhances wellbeing

According to: HL Stuckey, DEd and J Nobel, MD

Studies suggest that visual arts therapy reduces mental distress in patients. They also indicate that art has significant positive health effects in aiding recovery.

5. It makes you more attentive

According to: Dana Foundation

5 days of artistic activities, for 30 minutes a day, showed significant increases in motivation and attention span among children aged 4-6.

6. It helps you see the world differently

According to: NeuroImage

Scans of 44 artists’ brains show that portions of them are more developed, particularly those parts responsible for fine motor performance and procedural memory.

7. It increases your creativity

According to: David Sousa, AASA

Based on studies of almost 1,500 students, integrating visual and imagined imagery into different learning tasks is shown to increase creativity in discussions, modelling and assessment.

8. It helps us find meaning

According to: Paris Descartes University, University of Geneva

Works of art often contain visual clues and illusions to evoke particular responses, tricking our brains into finding meaning in the arbitrary.

Art speaks to something primal within us, tapping into our imagination and firing our creative impulses.

And best of all, doing it and viewing it is proven to make us better, more considerate thinkers.


Blair C., Raver, C. 2014. Closing the achievement gap through modification of neurocognitive and neuroendocrine function: results from a cluster randomized controlled trial of an innovative approach to the education of children in kindergarten. PlOS One, 9. plosone.org

Center on the Developing Child. Executive function. developingchild.harvard.edu

Chamberlain, R. et al. 2014. Drawing on the right side of the brain: a voxel-based morphometry analysis of observational drawing. Neurolmage, 96. sciencedirect.com

Huang, M. et al. 2011. Human cortical activity evoked by the assignment of authenticity when viewing works of art. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 134. journal.frontiersin.org

Hogenboom, M. (2014). Artists have ‘structurally different brains’. bbc.co.uk

Landau, E. (2012). What the brain draws from: art and neuroscience. edition.cnn.com

Posner, M. (2009). How arts training improves attention and cognition. dana.org

Sousa, D. (2006). How the arts develop the young brain. aasa.org

Stuckey, H.L. and Nobel, J. 2010. The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. American Journal of Public Health, 100. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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About Author

Brett Janes is an MA Writing student at LJMU, with close ties to the art community in the NW.

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