The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present (Hardback) - Common

The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present (Hardback) - Common

Language: English

Pages: 656


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A brilliant book by a Nobel Prize winner, "The Age of Insight" takes readers to Vienna in 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind--our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions--and how mind and brain relate to art.

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desires, is the man standing and regarding her from a few feet away. Vermeer’s mirror-within-the-painting emphasizes the tension between perceived reality and the true events unfolding in the woman’s mind. Figure 24-1. Jan Vermeer, The Music Lesson (c. 1662–65). Oil on canvas. In addition to giving the viewer an insight into the subject’s mind, painters allowed them an occasional insight into their own mind. In Velázquez’s Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor) of 1656 (Fig. 24-2), the artist appears

something else. All of a sudden, ideas that were previously isolated come together and people see connections that had escaped them—and others—before. Schooler has also defined the nature of one type, or component, of creative insight—the Aha! moment—and the conditions under which it occurs. First, the Aha! moment is well within the competence of the average person; second, problems requiring creative insight are very likely to lead to an impasse—a state in which the person does not know what

same time let the mind wander—regress—at some point in the process, either when at an impasse or during incubation. This argument also applies to the appreciation of art. Looking seriously at a work of art requires that we focus on the work to the exclusion of everything else. But there are degrees of focus. If we focus on the details of a portrait rather than the overall picture, we can significantly disrupt our insight into the overall image. Therefore, it is important, as Alfred Yarbus’s

as a duck or a rabbit, we unconsciously interpret the image as we view it; thus, interpretation is inherent in visual perception itself. The Rubin vase (Fig. 12-3), devised by the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin in 1920, is also an example of perception flipping between two rival interpretations and also relies on unconscious inferences made by the brain. But unlike the rabbit-duck illusion, the Rubin vase requires the brain to construct an image by differentiating an object (figure) from its

neuroscience laboratories. Although he had little direct contact with Rokitansky, Freud started his training in medicine at the University of Vienna in 1873, when Rokitansky was still at the peak of his influence. As a result, Freud’s early thinking appears to have been molded in important ways by the Rokitanskian spirit of the age. This spirit continued to be promulgated after Rokitansky retired from the medical school: Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke and Theodor Meynert, two of Freud’s mentors, were

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