Does Art Bring Us Together? An Empirical Approach to the Evolutionary Aesthetics of Ellen Dissanayake

Biological Theory Vol/Iss. 15 Springer London Published In Pages: 188-195
By Fullerton, Brady


In this study, the author empirically tests a formulation of Ellen Dissanayake's evolutionary theory of art, which argues that art evolved to promote group cohesion. The hypotheses derived from this theory and tested in this study specifically focus on ritual art and its relationships to various proxies for group cohesion such as community conflict and internal warfare. Results show that the presence of ritual art is significantly higher where certain measures of group cohesion are also higher (including lower internal warfare, lower conflict between communities of the same society, and lower frequency of violent conflict between groups within local communities).


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
eHRAF World CulturesResearcher's ownRitual art
Standard Cross Cultural Sample (SCCS)Other researchersGroup cohesion

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:anj.droe