Can Art Really Help You Analyze?

Amy E Herman, in her video How Art Can Help You Analyze, tries to explain how analyzing art can help a police officer or medical professional become better at analyzing a situation in their own professions.  Her argument is unconvincing. Training is extremely important in all professions, but training should be more centralized and specific. Studying the details of art will not help a doctor diagnose better or a police officer solve criminal investigations. Studying the specific area of study will train them to notice the specific details that they need.

According to Amy studying art and the details of art will train the brain to notice details completely unrelated to art. She does not offer any evidence that the brain’s ability to notice details of one sort will equate to an ability to notice details that are completely unrelated.  She claims that by studying Rene Magritte’s Time Transfixed, one can increase their ability to save lives. She does not provide examples of other artists, or other styles of art that she believes may also increase one’s skill. A doctor’s precious time would be better spent studying the intricacies involved in his or her specific field of study. A police officer’s time would be better spent studying criminal behavior and evidence techniques, rather than studying art.

Magritte’s Time Transfixed is quite abstract, but does she believe that less abstract art would also help hone skills to be detail oriented?  According to her logic, would a baseball player become a better hitter by studying art because they would notice the details of the incoming pitch? Would a player’s time be well spent studying art rather than practicing his or her swing? I find her argument to lack logic because she connects skills that do not relate to each other. Her argument lacks accuracy, as she completely neglects to offer any evidence of her theory. She lacks breadth because she only uses one piece of art to define her position and does not include any other art in her discussion. She also lacks fairness as her clear objective is to sell her books and her program and does not share any objectiveness in her argument.

4 thoughts on “Can Art Really Help You Analyze?

  1. Jenell Cancel

    There is some truth to your response, but if you think of teaching someone from a basic format of a profession sometimes using something more visual can help explain to others what it is you need to do. Like sign language, the deaf use their hands to create images that convey words as a way to communicate. I don’t believe Amy Herman was trying to say that someone’s art work should be studied in order to be used as a help in a baseball game. But to be used as a tool in order to train your eyes to see and observe your surroundings better. So instead of taking her words in a less general standpoint, think a little deeper. In a piece of art work hanging on your wall there is so much to look at so many details made to convey what someone could be feeling, how doing something, etc., etc.. What you see trains the eye to observe better in the world you walk in everyday. So when in a baseball game you need those eyes you have to see where the ball is coming from in order to catch it.

  2. Rahid Uddin

    Yes thank you exactly you’ve explained it clearly that I ever could. She offers no evidence or studies that actually can prove or validate her claim, it was really infuriating to see her mention Art in the following examples of her video on very simple basic issues which doesn’t fully grasp her point in my opinion. These analytical skills would be instilled during their training for each of their respective professions so I don’t see it either how it helps in any other profession when any simpleton would have certain procedures or steps to follow to analyze either a robbery,a patient or etc.

  3. Paul Fess

    Scott, you pose important challenges to Herman’s ideas. I would make two points: 1. she is not saying doctors, etc. should not be trained in their fields; she is saying that the kind of analysis required for critically examining art can enhance the kinds of critical analysis a doctor or a police officer might perform; 2. from this perspective analyzing artistic works can be a kind of practice or play with critical analysis, providing a neutral low-stakes place to develop critical analytical skills.

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