|Posted on September 24, 2008 at 12:58 PM|
A research team asked 12 men and women to pick the 20 paintings they considered the most ugly and the most beautiful from a selection of 300 works by artists such as da Vinci and Botticelli. They were then asked to contemplate either a beautiful painting, an ugly painting, or a blank panel while the team zapped a short laser pulse at their hand, creating a pricking sensation.
The subjects rated the pain as being a third less intense while they were viewing the beautiful paintings. Electrodes measuring the brain's electrical activity also suggested a reduced response to the pain when the subject looked at beautiful paintings.
Distractions are known to reduce pain in hospital patients, but this is the first result to show that beauty plays a part.