RCIDIV 351 - Special Topics
Section: 001 Art, Mind and Medicine
Term: FA 2007
Subject: RC Interdivisional (RCIDIV)
Department: LSA Residential College
Waitlist Capacity:
Mandatory credit/no credit.
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

This minicourse explores psychological and neuropsychological underpinnings of creativity and the esthetic response, with special reference to mental and physical health. We will begin by querying the complex concept of creativity:

  • Is the creative process one thing? To what extent is it different across people or across mediums of expression?
  • Does the creative process have steps or stages and how might they correlate with mental processes and brain functions?
  • How is creativity defined in the context of individual psychology and health?
  • What are the roles of innate talent, acquired skills, self-efficacy and perceived control at various moments of the creative process?
  • Can creativity be learned, and can it be therapeutic?
We will ask what physiological processes might mediate a therapeutic action for art:
  • How can elements of the creative process affect mood and the immune system and thus impact mental and physical health?
  • How do neural systems in the brain participate in creative activities and the esthetic response – memory systems, emotional systems, perceptual systems, action systems, and so on?
  • What is the special role of so-called mirror neurons in empathy, identification, and appreciation of art?

Enriched environments and physical activity have been shown to be good for the brain and for health in general:
  • How do these factors promote mental and physical health?
  • Is creative activity good for individuals because it is enriching and gets people moving, or is there something unique about the creative process?
  • What do controlled research studies reveal about the effect of creative activity on mental and physical health?
  • How do art and creative activity function in hospitals and other healthcare settings?
    We will meet for 2 hours, once a week for the semester. Classes will be in lecture/discussion format with weekly readings and occasional guest speakers. Students will have the opportunity to complete a term project of their choosing on a topic relevant to the course.

RCIDIV 351 - Special Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
W 7:00PM - 9:00PM
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