photo: Court Painter & CC (name available upon request) in consultation.
Brash, brawny and keen to impose his will on anyone who enters his studio sphere of existence: the alpha male Court Painter in action is unmistakable.
photo: Court Painter and Press Attache deliver painting to Heritage Minister Joly
Now scientists claim to have pinpointed the biological root of his domineering behaviour. New research has located a brain circuit that, when activated , transformed a once timid portraitist into bold alpha action painter that almost always prevails in aggressive social encounters i.e.: at art openings pushing to the head of the wine & free snacks line .
The brain region, called the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), was already known to light up during social interactions involving decisions about whether to be assertive or submissive with others. But brain imaging alone could not determine whether the circuit was ultimately controlling how Court Painter behaves.
photo: anonymous dance party
Court Painter generally organizes his studio with stable social hierarchies that minimize conflict between his unpaid studio interns. However, just for laffs he sometimes will pitch studio interns of different rank against each other in a range of tests to assess dominance.
In one, pairs of studio interns engaged in a head-to-head chess match. In the video that Press Attache A Hardon MacKay recorded, one subordinate intern is seen putting up only light resistance, but when the “alpha” circuit is stimulated by copying Court Painter’s aggressive behaviour, the intern adopts a rugby-style drive, propelling the opponent away from the chess board. With brain stimulation, low ranking interns won 90% of the time against collegues they would normally have lost to.
photos: actors demonstrating chess games
The experience of winning appears to always leave an imprint on Court Painter, making him more assertive, even when his brains’ on cruise control. He is found to be more combative after completing a painting by noon and moves on to a fencing match with a girly girl.
Court Painter brags that this is the “winner effect”, hinting that there is more than a grain of truth in the self-help mantra “fake it ‘til you make it”.
photo: Court Painter is seen with another winner’s circle artist CC (name available upon request)
The findings, researchers suggest, could have applications in understanding a variety of psychiatric conditions where artists exhibit overly dominant behaviours however lack motivation to read up on the latest discussion about the death of painting.