Beauty contemplation improves memory and helps to cope with depression

Scientists from the University of Turin (Italy) have found that contemplation of beauty increases the brain's susceptibility to new information, improves learning and memory. Specialists emphasize that the most important condition for productive contemplation is the "cessation of the fluctuations of the mind" - watching the world around you without the desire to change it.  Experts came to this conclusion after studying the techniques of meditative practices, as well as the results of research in neurobiology, psychology and philosophy. 

Meditative practices, in particular, Buddhist meditation, involves the abandonment of "passionate desires" and "delusions of mind" that prevent the present moment and "vision of the world as it is". It is necessary to "stop acting" in order to observe the thoughts, feelings and sensations that occur at the moment, as well as the sounds or other sensory stimuli in the environment.

According to scientists from Turin, a similar effect can be achieved when contemplating beauty - watching the starry sky, beautiful landscapes, works of art. A beautiful spectacle, just like a meditative practice, helps a person "rest" in the present moment, which in turn is an important condition for better perception and learning. 

One of the barriers to learning, remembering new information, is "mental fuss" - the constant concern about the future, worrying about the past, finding new information. Beauty contemplation activates hedonic feedback in the brain - a system of reward that supports desired or useful behavior. As a result, the brain stops "fussing" and focuses on the current moment, which in turn improves the person's ability to learn and remember. 

Professionals believe that understanding how beauty contemplation affects thought processes can help treat patients with psychological problems and mental disorders, including depression. Obsessive emotions, rigid thought patterns prevent patients from being in the present moment: contemplation of beauty is one of the ways to solve this problem. In addition, understanding the principle of hedonistic feedback will enable the development of therapeutic computer algorithms for the treatment of patients with mental disorders. 

At the same time, scientists believe that it is important that everyone understands the need to contemplate beauty in everyday life. 

"The ability to be in the present moment, to stop and observe beauty around them will help people to find a curious, joyful and unbiased view of life,"  - this key point was empathized by authors.

Oct. 26, 2020, 11:18 a.m.

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