Humans love art, and we put it everywhere. We hang photographs in our living rooms and posters in offices, queues of people weave out of the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa and we are captivated by sunsets painting the skies. Scientists believe there’s a reason for this attraction, and it goes deeper than preference.

“Art is a symbolic language,” says Dr Kirti Ranchod, a neurologist with the Global Brain Health Institute, jointly based at the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin. This means that, much like speaking any language, you have to use various parts of your brain to access the information art conveys and try to interpret it.

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