Neuroaesthetics: How Art Can Improve and Extend Your Life | Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen

Ten Percent Happier
August 7, 2023
Neuroaesthetics: How Art Can Improve and Extend Your Life | Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

Did you know that just 20 minutes of art a day is as beneficial as exercise and mindfulness? Or that participating in one art experience per month can extend your life by ten years? 

Our guests Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen talk about their new book, Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us. Together they explore the new science of neuroaesthetics, which explains how the arts can measurably change the body, brain, and our behaviors. 

This is the first installment in a three part series we’re running called, Mundane Glory about learning not to overlook the little things in your daily life that can be powerful and evidence-based levers for increased happiness. 

In this episode we talk about:

  • Their definition of the arts and aesthetic experiences
  • How they see nature as, “the highest form of art”
  • How simple actions like humming in the shower & gardening can be categorized as art experiences
  • How you don’t have to be good at making art to benefit from it
  • The difference between “makers” and “beholders” of art
  • What they mean by art being a part of our evolutionary DNA
  • How engaging in the arts can help strengthen our relationships and connectivity
  • How arts and aesthetic experiences create neuroplasticity in the brain
  • How society’s emphasis on optimizing for productivity has pushed the arts aside
  • The four key attributes that make up a concept called an “aesthetic mindset”
  • The benefits of partaking in a wide array of art experiences
  • The importance of infusing play and non judgment into the art you make
  • How art can be a form of meditation and mindfulness
  • How artistic experiences can extend your life, help treat disease and relieve stress
  • How the arts affect the way we learn
  • The emerging field of neuroarts and neuroaesthetics
  • How food fits into the arts category
  • Simple ways to integrate the arts into our daily lives
  • Technology’s relationship to the arts
  • And the importance of architecture and your physical space as a form of art

For tickets to TPH's live event in Boston on September 7:

Where to find Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen online: 


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