WNYC's Studio 360 invited Nobel-prizewinning neuroscientist Eric Kandel, an art collector himself, to discuss how the brain processes and reacts to art. One of the more interesting phenomena that Kandel explains is that when viewing abstract paintings the brain uses what he calls a "top-down" mechanism to recruit personal experience, imagination, creativity, and responses to other works of art into the process. The result is a creative experience that viewers themselves undergo as they look at an abstract painting. I could have told them that without an fMRI machine, but kudos nonetheless.
There's more. A good listen, 12 concise minutes.