Details on article

Id 119
Author McCarthy, K., F.; Ondaatje, E., H.; Zakaras, L., ; Brooks, A.,
Title Gifts of the muse: Reframing the debate about the benefits of the arts.

McCarthy, K. F., Ondaatje, E. H., Zakaras, L., y Brooks, A. (2004). Gifts of the muse: Reframing the debate about the benefits of the arts. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Keywords Benefits; Arts; Empirical research
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Abstract "Understanding the benefits of the arts is central to the discussion and design of policies affecting the arts. This study addresses the widely perceived need to articulate the private and public benefits of involvement in the arts. The findings are intended to engage the arts community and the public in a new dialogue about the value of the arts, to stimulate further research, and to help public and private policymakers reach informed decisions."

Metodology The basis of this study was an extensive review of published sources of several kinds. First, authors reviewed the evidence for the instrumental benefits of the arts. Second, they reviewed conceptual theories from multiple disciplines they thought might provide insights about how such effects are generated, a subject largely ignored by empirical studies of the arts’ instrumental benefits. Third, authors reviewed the literature on the intrinsic effects of the arts, including works of aesthetics, philosophy, and art criticism. And finally, they reviewed the literature on participation in the arts to identify factors that give individuals access to the arts and the benefits they provide.

Findings "This report categorizes and summarizes the instrumental benefits claimed in the empirical studies in: Cognitive; Attitudinal and behavioral; Health; Social and Economic. The report also provides an assessment of the quality of this body of research. Authors found that a small number of studies provide strong evidence for cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral benefits, but the available studies of health and social benefits were limited in terms of data and methodology, particularly the lack of longitudinal data. Authors found the research on economic effects to be the most advanced, but more analysis of the relative effects of spending on the arts versus other forms of spending is needed. Overall, they found that most of the empirical research on instrumental benefits suffers from a number of conceptual and methodological limitations: Weaknesses in empirical methods; Absence of specificity; Failure to consider opportunity costs. To address the second weakness—lack of specificity—authors explored how effective different types of arts experiences may be in creating specific benefits. This approach highlights the special advantages that hands-on involvement in the arts can bring; it also suggests the types of effects that might be expected from the different forms of exposure, as well as why some of these effects may be more significant and long-lasting than others. One of the key insights from this analysis is that the most important instrumental benefits require sustained involvement in the arts. Regarding intrinsic benefits, authors challenge the widely held view that intrinsic benefits are purely of value to the individual, however. Authors contend that some intrinsic benefits are largely of private value, others are of value to the individual and have valuable public spillover effects, and still others are largely of value to society as a whole. Authors place the following intrinsic benefits at the primarily private end of the value range: Captivation and Pleasure. Intrinsic benefits in the middle range of private-to-public value have to do with the individual’s capacity to perceive, feel, and interpret the world and are: Expanded capacity for empathy and Cognitive growth. Finally, some intrinsic benefits fall at the public end of the scale. In this case, the benefits to the public arise from the collective effects that the arts have on individuals: Creation of social bonds and Expression of communal meanings."
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