Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Maria Sancho-Arroyo

Second Advisor

Eric Wolf


The aim of this thesis is to explore the intricate relationship between art and neuroscience, shedding light on the intersection of these seemingly disparate fields. At its core, the study focuses on the dual ambiguity that surrounds the art world - a duality where art is perceived both as an aesthetic experience driven by passions and emotional factors, and as a financial investment. To unravel this complexity, the research merges the fields of art and neuroscience, embarking on a journey that offers experimental insights into human decision-making processes. The research starts with a comprehensive understanding of art and neuroscience, delving into their individual definitions and identifying the synergies that bind them together. A fascinating case study involving the “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh serves as a focal point to understand a practical connection between art neurosciences. Indeed, the analysis of the work of art highlights the emotional and neurological aspects that lead to both artistic creation and appreciation. Subsequently, the capstone delves into the concept of visual indeterminacy, challenging perception, and examines how neurological challenges can transform an artist's work. Through neuroscientific insights and real-life cases like Lonni Sue Johnson and Willem de Kooning, it will be illustrated the brain's adaptability and the profound influence of art on cognitive research. This research not only reflects the brain but also highlights how art actively reshapes neural circuits, offering therapeutic possibilities for those with neurological challenges. The last part of the study pivots to explore the application of neuroscience in two distinct areas: the realm of art collection and the realm of financial decision-making. Through authentic narratives shared by collectors, the reader will have a clearer understanding of the intricate decision-making processes that underpin their choices, offering valuable insights into the psychological phenomena guiding their selections. Key factors such as the endowment effect, where individuals overvalue items they possess, and the halo effect, where a single positive attribute influences overall perceptions, play a pivotal role in shaping these choices. This study sheds light on the fascinating interplay of human psychology in the world of collecting, highlighting the influence of these cognitive biases. The financial domain is not left untouched, as the thesis uncover the role of neuroscience in decision-making related to financial investments. Household finance is analyzed to unravel common financial mistakes, individual investor trading is scrutinized to reveal the quirks of market behavior, and asset pricing is debated in the context of rationality versus behavioral economics. I chose to explore a financial perspective to help readers understand how everyday choices can be influenced by neuroscience. While not everyone is an art collector, we all make financial decisions in our lives. A better understanding of this can provide insights into the mindset of an art collector. Ultimately, the thesis weaves all these insights into the world of pure art finance. This underscores the two-sided nature of the art investment sphere, where art is both a cherished item and a financial asset. The neurological implications of money as a reinforcer in art investment are brought to attention, showcasing how financial motivations stimulate the brain's reward centers. Moreover, the research explores the emergence of art funds and their impact on High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs). This aspect emphasizes the growing significance of art as a diversification strategy within investment portfolios, offering neurological rationale behind such financial choices. In conclusion, this study ventures into the intersection of art, neuroscience, and finance, deciphering the cognitive intricacies that influence our art-related and financial decisions. The research underscores the profound influence of neuroscientific perspectives on our understanding of these seemingly non connected spheres, painting a comprehensive portrait of how art and finance interplay in the human psyche.