Abstract art has qualities that help us put aside the minutiae of our daily life


Saiful Razman's abstract work 'Runtuh Satu Bangun Seribu' (collage of toilet paper, gauze, polyvinyl adhesive on canvas, 2016). Photo: Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery

As many of us have experienced the joy of getting lost in artwork, a new study reveals that abstract art has qualities that help us put aside the minutiae of our daily life. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that our mind processes abstract art and figurative art very differently.

Researchers at Columbia University have found that abstract art is evocative of greater psychological distance than representational paintings, as it shifts our cognitive state away from concrete details.

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