A group of scientists at the University of Milan have discovered something that I'd really like to try: If you use magnetic fields to excite a part of the brain—the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex—everything will look a lot more beautiful to you. The field modifies your subjective judgement not your vision. So much, in fact, that it will make you think Ted Cruz is as attractive as Marlon Brando.
Aesthetic appreciation [...] is a subjective judgment we make when looking at a painting, a landscape, or—in fact—at another person [...] we show that the experience of beauty can be artificially enhanced with brain stimulation [...]Our results thus show that beauty is in the brain of the beholder, and offer a novel view on the neural networks underlying aesthetic appreciation.
The alteration of our judgement works with everything, from people to art to architecture to any object that can be subjected to our subjective sense of beauty. Study co-author Zaira Cattaneo told the Spanish publication Neurolab that their study is the first that shows that you can modify human's aesthetic appreciation by directly modulating the brain's activity.
Some of the images shown to test subjects during the study.
She says that the experiment didn't affect the appreciation of color or any other physical attributes of the object like perception-modifying drugs would do. The temporary alteration is not related to visual perception but the cognitive process itself.
Beauty, the study concludes, is in the brain of the beholder.