Visual Palaeopsychology: Recent research into the Palaeolithic emergence and development of human visual culture

Annual joint lecture with CornwallAS
Prof Paul Pettitt (Durham University)
lecture slide


Only in recent years has a scientifically robust picture of the long-term development of Palaeolithic ‘art’ started to come together. Advances in our abilities to date ‘cave art’, and widespread programmes of systematic analyses of portable art in its widest context provide enough data for a falsifiable model of how and why human visual culture emerged. Added to this, previous hypotheses about the affects of the human visual system on the nature of Palaeolithic art are now able to be tested. I present here a long-term model of Palaeolithic art, as well as the results of recent research conducted using current visual psychological methods aimed at elucidating how our brains contributed to this characteristically human phenomenon called ‘art’.’