My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Success Strategies

Med Students Are Studying Art. Here's Why You Should, Too.

A recent study found that observing and discussing works of art can help people develop skills in other fields.
Med Students Are Studying Art. Here's Why You Should, Too.
Image credit: Jupiterimages | Getty Images
3 min read

Artists aren’t the only professionals who can boost their skills by visiting galleries and studying the creations of others. In fact, a background in the visual arts may help anyone develop their observation, interpretation, description and research abilities.

A recent study published in the medical journal Opthalmology found that medical students who studied art observation became better clinical observers and became more open-minded to others’ opinions.

Related: 6 Ways to Show People You're Really Listening

In the experiment, researchers divided 36 first-year medical students into two groups. One group took a series of six classes in “Artful Thinking” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while the other did not receive any formal training in art observation. The “Artful Thinking” courses were taught by local art professionals, and they focused on introspection and observation before interpretation. They exposed students to various works of art, and they involved group discussions and arts vocabulary training as teaching tools.

Participants of both groups took assessments before and after the experiment, which asked students to describe retinal and facial disease photographs. The students who had completed the six-course series showed improved observational skills because the courses taught them how to break down complex visual information -- in this case, artwork.

Related: Why the Best Entrepreneurs Are Decisive, Not Close-Minded

The researchers found that art observation training helped students make accurate observations, or in some cases, diagnoses. However, the results of the research go beyond the advantages of studying art. Through group discussions, the students learned to appreciate and absorb others’ opinions and differing viewpoints. The environment created through art observation teachings provided students with opportunities to hear others’ thoughts on new or unfamiliar topics in cases where the answers or results were previously unclear.

These findings can extend beyond the medical field, too. Cultivating strong observational skills may help broaden a person’s understanding of subjects and develop empathy -- an important trait for a leader or executive.

Related: Listening Is an Art, and Mastering It Will Make You a Great Leader

"I believe I've become more open-minded as a result of the course primarily because of the discussions we had as a group," one study participant shared. "I'm not sure that improving my observational skills increased my ability to emphasize, but recognizing the validity of others' opinions certainly did."

More from Entrepreneur

David provides constructive insight to help businesses focus on their company growth, build brand awareness and know when and how to raise money.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur