Overview

Interested in the psychology of the arts? If so, attend this Boston College Experience next summer. Think back to our cavemen ancestors – their lives weren’t easy, constantly on the lookout for food, shelter, and safety from predators. Yet, between those stressful tasks, evidence shows that these people participated in the arts.

They painted on cave walls, made and wore jewelry of shells and rocks, and played music on flutes carved from bird bones. Why did they make time for this? The arts (music, visual arts, dance, and theater) must be important to human beings in ways we still can’t completely understand. Fast forward to today, and there are still questions to be asked: · Why do we spend so much time flipping through Snapchat filters? · Why do we listen to sad music when we’re already feeling sad? · Why do we like being scared when watching horror movies, but not in real life? In this class, we’ll learn to think like a research psychologist (observe evidence, ask questions, test hypotheses, analyze and present data) using the lens of artistic behavior. We’ll read research, design and execute studies, and present our findings about why people sing, dance, paint, and act. Students should be prepared to be active participants in class (lectures will be minimal) and to read occasionally challenging scientific literature.

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