How Parkinson’s disease could impact the way you see art


Author: Saskia MairPublished: 29 April 2021

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A person looks at a wall of paintings

A new study from a team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, US, has indicated that Parkinson’s disease could affect the way people experience art.

The researchers asked 43 people with the condition and 40 controls to make judgements about 10 paintings by American artist Jackson Pollock and 10 by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, rating them according to factors including liking, beauty, motion, complexity and colour-saturation.

The participants with Parkinson’s showed more of a preference for ‘high-motion’ art. They also showed a lower recognition of movement compared to controls, suggesting that the brain’s motor system may help interpret movement from static visual cues.

However, the research team noted that many of the participants were on their usual medication, and that the impact of dopamine agonists on the experience of art would also need to be considered.

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