It's official - art makes you smart!

November 25 2013

Image of It's official - art makes you smart!

Picture: NYT

Exciting news from the New York Times:

FOR many education advocates, the arts are a panacea: They supposedly increase test scores, generate social responsibility and turn around failing schools. Most of the supporting evidence, though, does little more than establish correlations between exposure to the arts and certain outcomes. Research that demonstrates a causal relationship has been virtually nonexistent.

A few years ago, however, we had a rare opportunity to explore such relationships when the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened in Bentonville, Ark. Through a large-scale, random-assignment study of school tours to the museum, we were able to determine that strong causal relationships do in fact exist between arts education and a range of desirable outcomes.

Students who, by lottery, were selected to visit the museum on a field trip demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills, displayed higher levels of social tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy and developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions.

By extension, of course, reading AHN will make you a bloody genius.

Update - aw shucks, the Grumpy Art Historian says it ain't so, and writes:

That NYT piece picks up on some research done a while ago, which I refuted thus.

All it really proves is that kids remember stuff. The actual research doesn't bear out the claims made in the article.

I would not, of course, deny that AHN can still make you a bloody genius.

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