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Beyond the real world, virtual art exhibitions are also good for your health

Spending A Few Minutes Looking At Digital Artwork Could Be Enough To Help Us Feel Better, According To A European Study.  — Photo By Afp

Spending a few minutes looking at digital artwork could be enough to help us feel better, according to a European study. — Photo by AFP

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 11:30 PM MYT

LEIPZIG, July 12 — Visiting an art museum can have multiple health benefits. But what about virtual exhibitions? A team of European researchers recently studied its therapeutic virtues and found that it could be on par with real-world art experiences.

The idea of ​​going to a museum for its health benefits may sound surprising, but it’s a concept that is gaining traction, and for good reason. Numerous scientific publications have highlighted the multiple benefits of art on our physical and mental well-being. Contact with works of art can help relieve chronic pain and ease stress and anxiety.

However, scientists did not know whether these effects could also be experienced over the Internet. MacKenzie Trupp and Matthew Pelowski set out to investigate this question with the help of researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for Human Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Psycholinguistics. They asked 84 participants to visit two exhibits digitized by Google Arts and Culture, one on Monet and the other on Japanese culinary traditions, during the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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At the time, nearly 90 percent of the world’s museums closed their doors for a certain period of time, according to a 2020 UNESCO report. Millions of art lovers turned to virtual tours to access culture and escape. of their everyday realities. And good for them, suggests the study by MacKenzie Trupp and Matthew Pelowski. The researchers observed that people who visited a virtual exhibition saw their mood improve. “This included reduced state anxiety, negative mood, loneliness, and increased subjective well-being,” they wrote in the study, recently published in the journal Frontier Psychology.

Even more surprising, these therapeutic effects are felt very quickly. Psychologists pointed out that looking at digital works of art for a few minutes is enough to feel better. The benefits of virtual exhibitions are even more pronounced if the people who visit them have a particular attachment to art or find it beautiful.

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Although the study has a small number of participants, it suggests new possibilities for art therapy. In the future, virtual exhibitions could be shown in waiting rooms, hospitals, and rural areas where access to art is limited. This would allow as many people as possible to reap the health benefits of art. —ETX Study

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