As this article explains, there is a new kind of neuroscience that examines how the experience of art affects your brain.

It’s all good.

“There is something about being in a group that stimulates your reactions. There’s something about the performance that heightens your senses.

“If you think about it, having a great time at the theater defies logic in many ways. We’re surrounded by strangers, bombarded with unusual images and often faced with a wordless language of symbols. Yet, on a good night, we generally laugh more, cry more and enjoy ourselves more at a live performance than when we’re watching TV at home. We may even lose ourselves and feel connected to something larger. How does this happen?…

“Social connection is one of the strengths of our species — it’s how we learn from others by imitation. We’re keenly attuned to the emotions and actions of people around us, because our brains are designed for this.

“If, for example, you’ve ever gone to an experimental performance-art piece where there’s hardly anyone in the audience but you, and you’ve felt a little exposed and awkward, this is why. We crave social connection. And the cues we get from those around us help our brains make sense of our surroundings. This starts from the moment we walk into a crowd….

“It helps us make sense of human behavior, a large part of which is evaluating movement and emotion within us and around us. Our brains like to share emotions with others. This is just one reason that seeing a live performance — a concert, play, opera, etc. — is a neural rush. With our brain’s capacity for emotion and empathy, even in the wordless art of dance we can begin to discover meaning — and a story.”

Open the link to see performances and understand how we react to art.

We need the arts. We need to see them, perform them, experience them, enjoy them. They are part of what makes us human.