Art Is Its Own Reward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The “art infusion effect” suggests that people evaluate products more positively when they are associated with art images than non-art images. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging during viewing of art and non-art images matched for content, the authors investigated whether artistic status alone could activate the reward circuit. Relative to non-art images, art images indeed activated reward-related regions including the ventral striatum. This activity was uncorrelated with response times, ratings of familiarity, or aesthetic preference for art images, suggesting that these variables were unrelated to the art-selective activations. Effective connectivity analyses showed that the ventral striatum was driven by visual cortical regions when viewing art images but not non-art images and was not driven by regions that correlated with aesthetic preference for either art or non-art images. These findings suggest that visual art involves activation of reward circuitry based on artistic status alone and independently of its aesthetic value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBrain, Beauty, and Art
Subtitle of host publicationEssays Bringing Neuroaesthetics into Focus
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780197513620
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Art Is Its Own Reward'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this