How art can help you analyze – Amy E. Herman

How art can help you analyze – Amy E. Herman


There’s a prevailing attitude that art doesn’t matter in the real world. But the study of art can enhance our perception and our ability to translate to others what we see. Those skills are useful. Those skills can save lives. Doctors, nurses, and law enforcement agents can use painting, sculpture, and photography as tools to improve their visual acuity and communication skills, which are critical during investigations and emergencies. If you’re treating an injury, investigating a crime scene, or trying to describe either of those things to a colleague, art can make you better at it. Here, imagine you’re a seasoned cop or a dedicated doctor, but also imagine you are at a museum and let’s look at a painting. Rene Magritte’s “Time Transfixed” of 1938 depicts a mysterious and complex interior that invites analysis not unlike that required of a patient’s symptoms or the scene of a crime. A miniature train whose origin and destination are unknown is emerging from a fireplace, and the smoke from the locomotive appears to flow up the chimney as if from the fire that is conspicuously absent below. The eeriness of the scene is echoed in the empty living room, enhanced by wood-grain floors and decorative wall moldings to the right of the fireplace. Perched atop the mantelpiece are two candlesticks and a clock. Behind these objects is a large mirror that reveals an empty interior and only a partial reflection of the objects before it. The juxtaposition of the objects surrounding the moving train raises numerous questions for which there seem to be no apparent answers. Did I summarize the painting accurately or leave any details out? It’s no big deal if you see something else in a painting, but what if we’re both seasoned cops? I call you for back-up. You show up only to realize the two bank robbing ninjas I’d mentioned were actually six bank robbing ninjas with lasers. Close study of art can train viewers to study thoroughly, analyze the elements observed, articulate them succinctly, and formulate questions to address the seeming inconsistencies. Scrutinizing the details of an unfamiliar scene, in this case the work of art, and accurately conveying any observable contradictions is a critically important skill for both people who look at x-rays and those who interrogate suspects. Let’s interrogate this painting, shall we? Okay, Magritte, that’s quite a little picture you’ve painted. But why aren’t there any train tracks? Why no fire? What happened to the candles? Why doesn’t the fireplace have a little tunnel for the train? It just comes straight through the wall. And the clock says it’s about quarter to one, but I’m not sure the light that comes through the window at an angle says it’s just past noontime. What’s this painting all about, anyway? That’s when you, my trusty partner, hold me back, then I leave. You give Magritte a cup of coffee and keep grilling him to see if this painting would hold up in court. Viewers can provide a more detailed and accurate description of a situation by articulating what is seen and what is not seen. This is particularly important in medicine. If an illness is evidenced by three symptoms and only two are present in a patient, a medical professional must explicitly state the absence of that third symptom, signifying that the patient may not have the condition suspected. Articulating the absence of a specific detail or behavior known as the pertinent negative is as critical as stating the details and behaviors that are present in order to treat the patient. And conspicuous absences are only conspicuous to eyes trained to look for them. Art teaches professionals across a wide spectrum of fields not only how to ask more effective questions about what cannot be readily answered, but also, and more importantly, how to analyze complex, real world situations from a new and different perspective, ultimately solving difficult problems. Intense attention to detail, the ability to take a step back and look differently, we want first responders to have the analytical skills of master art historians at least. Art trains us to investigate, and that’s a real world skill if there ever was one.

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “How art can help you analyze – Amy E. Herman

  1. elizabethrainDrop says:

    @julio843 Heyya you're still alive then, still studying and getting some cash out of modeling

  2. Muhammad Fikri Mohd Kamil says:

    Interesting video

  3. 23eliazar1 says:

    Art is boring ass fuck and lame people that like art are gay

  4. Thomas Kohl says:

    i disagree. this is pointless. you can gain the ability to do this thing by going thought life bot looking at a boring picture on the wall. pls stop wasting your money and going to Art school

  5. steven reece says:

    Some people make art. The more they know about it the better they can get at making more.

  6. Manajust4fun says:

    This was very interesting but why the negative responses? Are they the people that failed English and Arts?

  7. elizabethrainDrop says:

    @adam357 Hey so bored today

  8. TrixiedaChick says:

    @jared213 Hi it's been a long time…yeah, my tits are even bigger now, lol

  9. its okay says:

    The artist is probably fuckin the cops wife and doctors. That's what happens when you give to much time to your job

  10. Danica Alejo says:

    This is not art itself but i think this only shows the capacity of an individual to make logical observations

  11. Joe Sielski says:

    Ceci n'est pas une video.

  12. Daniel Lomax says:

    I really enjoy looking at art, but I'm quite stumped with this painting.

    Perhaps the train is a symbol of the industrial revolution, and how that over time, newer technologies have rendered such a romantic technology redundant. Belittled these days to merely keeping the living room warm. The train in the fireplace represents the spirit of burning wood and charcoal when it was once used to power the world.

  13. Agape420 says:

    Sounds like you've just had a bad experience with people who call themselves artists. Try and look a little more and you'll find the true wonderful world of art, the world so many are fascinated by. Don't let a dickhead or two get in your way of excellence, mate!

  14. Kabi Jedhagen says:

    If I remember correctly, the toilet you're talking about is probably the urinal that was placed upside down and signed. it wasn't art, it was the artist saying "fuck you" to the gallery that was treating him like shit.

  15. katten mammamau says:

    Spik3d; The Lizard Queen brain of Mau would banish u off the orbit around her bum.

  16. Antonio Bennett says:

    Getting paid to reply to easy paid surveys right at home has allowed my sister to stop working and get paid around 4000 dollars per month.

    This great site demonstrates precisely how bit.ly19dsdbo

  17. tuodekab says:

    I took a philosophy class called aesthetics in fine art and it blew my mind…art holds infinite power!

  18. Aaron Wes says:

    If you want to go from believing to knowing, and from deception to truth, go to truthcontest–com and open “The Present.” What it says will change the way you see and live your life.

  19. Yophey says:

    Holy crap, you're good…

  20. Yophey says:

    Some of you guys are being ignorant. I'm 16 and I'm already starting to understand art's beauty.. This video's point is pretty weak but analyzing art is a general skill, and it's a unique and interesting way of expressing yourself and influencing others in ways you couldn't imagine. And that's pretty significant.

  21. Paul Brown says:

    Actually this sounds like the art of Piero Manzoni who is most famously known for his cans of, "Artist's Shit." There are all kinds of art and many definitions of what art is. My understanding of, "Fine Art" is art that if understood has enough purpose and meaning to change a viewers perception of the world in a new way. That being said not everyone gets the purpose or meaning of some art, and so see no value in it. "Artists Shit" were cans with unknown contents, and the labels could be literal.

  22. Paul Brown says:

    It could also have been Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain"

  23. MARTIN V says:

    bad and weak conclusion, first ted video i dont agree at all

  24. Khiarika1 says:

    I'm an artist(designer)- this video is weak.

  25. Thomas G says:

    I agree it was weak, but the reference to Le fils de l'homme at 3:07 made it all worth while.

  26. Khiarika1 says:

    Lol. You're right! That was the only part that i got excited about but then directly after that the brief but conceptually destitute bit about the criminal sketch artist just killed it for me. Utter wackness

  27. MrBlaqgold says:

    Ted trying too hard…. boring

  28. Joao Rijo says:

    you must be new to ted videos, especially ted ed ones. I've pretty much given up at this point; they seems to have started gr8 some years ago and have been getting steadily worse.

  29. lukat93 says:

    There's a prevailing attitude that are doesn't matter in the real world.
    Without analysing, I can just say I did not lime this video.

  30. laojace says:

    AHHHHH. Got it. Thanks 🙂

  31. Hailey Noh says:

    Hmmm… I really don't know what to think about this video.

  32. Matthew Valdes says:

    this video is pretty horrible

    you know you can just make a video about analyzing art you dont have to try to make it apply to doctors of all things

  33. KevinHarper3DArtist says:

    what the hell? you never solved the painting!

  34. Cosmos says:

    That makes no sense to me?

  35. Cosmos says:

    Very few people will understand this video!

  36. Dan says:

    This is terrible.

  37. Ic3Septre says:

    Lol no problem.

  38. Ic3Septre says:

    What? Something not serving its purpose? My point was that just because art "can enhance communication and analytical skills" doesn't mean that's its only application. You can still enjoy it simply for the sake of enjoying it.

  39. Marko el diez says:

    Haters everywhere!!! Lol. This video claims that art can have certain practical uses; end of story. -.-'

  40. Shakil Mahbub Hussain says:

    I am not sure why Ted-Ed featured this video.

  41. ancientwestonian says:

    the story i learned about Duchamps Fountain just yesterday in class was that he was interested in ready made art in an attempt to prove or disprove that one could make a work that is not a work of art. the gallery show it was sent to was accepting anyones work who paid six dollars to display. letters were drawn out of a hat and the first letter drawn happened to be R so people with names starting with R got the best space in the gallery. Duchamp then signed his fountain R. Mutt.

  42. ancientwestonian says:

    they didnt show it but thats what he wanted

  43. spirosorf1 says:

    xaxaxa.. silly

  44. Sun Hunter says:

    Complete and utter nonsense, police officers wont learn anything relevant to their jobs by looking at art. They are far better of watching reality shows and CSI on tv.

  45. LokyNoKey says:

    Anything but CSI.

  46. LokyNoKey says:

    This video raises an argument and people are debating the argument.

  47. LokyNoKey says:

    A person can analyze everything. Art can be analyzed but it may be a waste of time because there are many things that effect our lives that can be analyzed instead.

  48. Treeky Galvan says:

    Most of them don't get the point.

  49. Mai Sơn Steven says:

    Rất hay , hy vọng sẽ có nhiều video của TED-Ed nữa được dịch ra tiếng Việt

  50. Blade's Channel says:

    I vote for the 'dumbest comment ever' from PentaMaker. But I figure at age 5 or 6 I also probably talked that much non-sense.

  51. Gumbdy says:

    I guess it shoud be renamed "how WEIRD art can halp you analyze"

  52. daydreamers says:

    so investigating on a crime or describe diseases could help to appreciate and understand art more?

  53. Tilek Mamutov says:

    I understand why art is enjoyable and interesting, but it feels to me that there may be more direct and better ways to achieve the same benefits.

  54. boz says:

    what a bunch of crap

  55. Plural Love says:

    who is Amy E. Herman? and who is Mcleat, is he a real person why doesn't he show his face?

  56. Best Fit Square Channel says:

    illuminating, as are your well executed lessons!

  57. Jay Kirgis says:

    watch the Plato's Allegory of the Cave and maybe you'll understand how ridiculous and uninformed most of these comments are

  58. Lucky Kitty says:

    Boring!

  59. Michael Shen says:

    Anyone else get the Son of Man reference?

  60. Justin Miller says:

    I am now dumber after watching this

  61. mossy1 says:

    As an artist I find this video embarrassing. This is not why art is important and its ridiculous to think that surgeons or police are going to study art to become more analytical when they could just be studying their own field to do so.

  62. Teddy Boragina says:

    deadly bank robbery = unreflective candle holder

  63. 123458888888888888888 says:

    This is nonsense.

  64. Strubel Family says:

    Thank you. I will include this in our art study of Magritte today.

  65. MrPanetela says:

    The highly trained eyesight of both predators and prey substantiate her position.
    I recently saw a TV show, a cheetah was hunting gazelles. The parents took running. The cheetah was only just a couple yards away from their new born fawn. The fawn immobilized itself to prevent detection. The cheetah should have found it, but failed. Yet, all the while it was just a few yards away from a delicious meal. The Eagle can spot a field mouse in thick grass from a thousand feet in the air. If the mouse so much as twitch a whisker, so long field mouse. With eyes on the side of their heads, rodents wide field of view can spot the smallest motion from nearly any direction. Finally, Muhammad Ali, world famous boxer, had some of the quickest most accurate eyesight. As he danced around his opponent, he could immediately see the other mans intention, and react to it before the other guy could tag him. I could offer many more instances, but these 3 are enough. I totally believe you can train to see faster, accurately, deeply if you choose to. And if you choose not, that's okay too.

  66. Hatewine says:

    this is very hard to follow for the short message you want to explain

    art helps you analize because you look more focused at stuff, is what i learned from this.

  67. emilio corona says:

    Man, this homework is not going to make any sense.

  68. Sarah Rhoades says:

    To be honest, I already knew that art was important to study and this made me feel like scrabbled eggs.

  69. Tyler Alexander says:

    I never knew that art had so many real world applications in fields I'm really interested about. Even if I'm making a decision on what to wear for the day. I have to pay special attention to minor details about the weather like how the sky looks, If it seems cloudy but just over cast it might not rain but if its very dark and feels humid outside there might be a good chance that it's going to rain.

  70. Survivoreborn says:

    Who's here from k12 art class lol

  71. César C.T. says:

    I'm mot sure seeing art teaches you to be creative, or how to investigate. Why is people always trying to attach some practical ability to seeing paintings instead of just enjoy them as we enjoy music, dancing or watching a movie?

  72. MGD says:

    "A miniature train whose origin and destination are unknown"
    It's just a train!!! This is why trump won

  73. Ninja Team says:

    this leads me nowhere

  74. James Parkinson says:

    I think some people are missing the point. Think of this explanation as the advertisement to why people from different professions should be interested in art. It helps improve their analytical skills yes, but it also does much more.

  75. Miray Mghayar Wassouf says:

    This may be a theory, but a funny one..

  76. Lingke Jiang says:

    Ha? That's it? I was expecting some real stuff analyzing the painting and it just ended… Jesus

  77. Rebecca MarieYah says:

    When I was a little child I would always stare at the pictures of a book. I would look at the patterns of certain illustrations and the backgrounds, people or creatures, the place and even down to the little shadows. I looked at everything! Even now I find myself getting sucked into images getting a feel for it.. So now, I find myself observing everything, all of the time! I would wonder why.. but now I have an idea. Wonderful, it all makes more sense now. I do think that this can really help people to analyze better.

  78. Joseph Samuell says:

    now i can apply my love of art to real situations… like fighting off laser wielding ninjas

  79. sam_mouldy04 / says:

    I hate ted ed

  80. Maxim Mihaela says:

    Why people don't understand this video? In this video they didn't tell you that if you don't watch art you're no good to your job they just tell you that if you study art from a young age you will have a sense of observation that will help you in your future job not only that the art helps people in other jobs like psycology at a young age when children can't speak and art can help to observ in they're paintings they're feelings .

  81. mcabrera says:

    Get Magritte a cup of coffee… I lol'd

  82. arianna chaco says:

    Such a wonderful video! I love the allusions to Magritte, and how educational it was! I'll be sharing this video with as many people who will watch it 🙂

  83. nada3963 says:

    Interesting perspective

  84. X DICAP says:

    I’m writing a paper on the importance of art education for class, this helps prove my point

  85. Annabelle Rankin says:

    This really does not tell us what it purports to – very bland and superficial content.

  86. Nick C says:

    It’s painfully obvious in these comments that critical thinking is an undervalued and scarce tool 🙁

  87. Marts Gamer G says:

    Although I will admit this seems a little far-fetched, I'm still going to use it for one of my Essay's arguments, which is that art helps people analyse.

  88. Rodney Wright says:

    Affect leadership norm entity worry fundamental apartment withdraw ideal photograph.

  89. Sining Tadhana says:

    catharsis……reminder of things that we maybe forget to appreciate and value….to suggest a concept or idea…to question norms…maybe to give some people who aren't that good in speech and written communication a new language to speak through and to express……to bring order or to create more confusion…to suggest an answer or to raise more questions…to make our mind work and give something for our brain to be utilized apart from philosophy and the sciences or math…..the need or desire to feel or to have different emotions once for a while….to escape from reality and be entertained….to relax or to worry….and maybe to give the people with less problems something to problem with if they hate dealing with numerical problems or societal ones…to make our minds travel into different places and culture or to past while trying to fit in other's shoes, worldview, and mindset, and maybe to be more careful and empathetic…to be a vehicle or way to express our unexplainable ideas, desires, concerns, issues, emotions, failures, and dreams or wonder and awe…to keep us having culture and personal identity as an individual that is unique within a diverse society but still similar in some ways with one another..to let us appreciate the history of our world, our present, how we got here, and where will we go…and to record culture and history in a visual language, written literature, or music and tradition. Art and culture most of the time can't be isolated form one another, for art is within culture. As culture is influential to society and people and to events in both past and present, so as art. For me, these are some of the reasons why the arts are significant.

  90. Alexey Bereznitskiy says:

    Desperately tries to justify a useless degree

  91. adrian ray says:

    Im only here for homework I have to do, anyone else?

  92. Madelaine Bertelsen says:

    The second candle is missing its reflection, no? The reflection could be behind the reflection of the clock, but then again, how could it? The first candles' reflection is approxomately 1 cm from the original candle, so the second candles' reflection should also be 1 cm away. Maybe the candle doesn't exist. The candle and the train is an illusion maybe…

  93. Solomon Keith says:

    Contact me if you need help or a tutor [email protected]

  94. hello123456 says:

    since when does Ted educate?

  95. Julie Cerrone says:

    Harvard Med School offers a course called Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis which is based on visits to art museums: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/well/live/what-doctors-can-learn-from-looking-at-art.html

  96. Charlene Macomber says:

    this is amazing

  97. Minh Pham Thanh says:

    I like it

  98. Felix Tuchinsky says:

    I'm buckling up for an… interesting online class.

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