Original paper

Art as behaviour – an ethological approach to visual and verbal art, music and architecture

Sütterlin, Christa; Schiefenhövel, Wulf; Lehmann, Christian; Forster, Johanna; Apfelauer, Gerhard

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 71 No. 1-2 (2014), p. 3 - 13

published: Mar 1, 2014

DOI: 10.1127/0003-5548/2014/0371

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP140007101002, Price: 29.00 €

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In recent years, the fine arts, architecture, music and literature have increasingly been examined from the vantage point of human ethology and evolutionary psychology. In 2011 the authors formed the research group 'Ethology of the Arts' concentrating on the evolution and biology of perception and behaviour. These novel approaches aim at a better understanding of the various facets represented by the arts by taking into focus possible phylogenetic adaptations, which have shaped the artistic capacities of our ancestors. Rather than culture specificity, which is stressed e.g. by cultural anthropology and numerous other disciplines, universal human tendencies to perceive, feel, think and behave are postulated. Artistic expressive behaviour is understood as an integral part of the human condition, whether expressed in ritual, visual, verbal or musical art. The Ethology of the Arts-group's research focuses on visual and verbal art, music and built environment/architecture and is designed to contribute to the incipient interdisciplinarity in the field of evolutionary art research.


aestheticsarchitecturebuilt environmentcommunicationethology of artsevolutionevolutionary musicologyhuman ethologylyricsmusicpoetryuniversalsurban ethologyvisual artsvocal expression