I have always believed that art was important to the mind and the soul, but I never thought that art might change behavior until I read about a new study by social scientist at the University of Arkansas.
Saying that the “changes were measurable and significant,” the scientists found that exposure to art through cultural institutions and museums not only improves educational memory and critical thinking skills in children but also seems to improve their level of tolerance and empathy.
Two years ago 11,000 students toured Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The groups, chosen by lottery, viewed five paintings over the course of an hour. There were no lectures. They were provided with information, and there was discussion. Three weeks later when students were questioned, there was significant recall about the museum paintings, and students were also able to write critically about a painting they had not seen on display. Students who went to the museum were better at relating the new painting to their own experiences than those who did not go and were more likely to empathize with the people and scenarios that were depicted (http://www.fastcocreate.com/3023094/science-says-art-will-make-your-kids-better-thinkers-and-nicer-people).