What is it about art that can be so captivating? How is it that we find value in the often odd and abstract objects and events we call artworks? William P. Seeley proposes that artworks are attentional engines. They are artifacts that have been intentionally designed to direct attention to critical stylistic features that reveal their point, purpose, or meaning. In developing this view, Seeley argues that there is a lot we can learn about the value of art from interdisciplinary research focused on our perceptual engagement with artworks. Recent breakthroughs in cognitive science and behavioral science can explain how we recognize artworks and how we differentiate them from more quotidian artifacts.
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