What do you see when you look at a work of art? How closely do you look? Are there salient details? Is it important to look at every little thing?

If you are a police officer, and you are studying with Amy Herman, you’d better take a good look. Herman, an expert in visual perception, uses artwork to train law enforcement officers as well as medical students, business executives, and others how to be better observers. Noticing the details of a painting can easily translate to noticing something at a crime scene, or a medical examination.

“I’ve had people say, ‘I hate art,’ and I say, ‘That’s not relevant,’” she said. “This is not a class about Pollock versus Picasso. I’m not teaching you about art today; I’m using art as a new set of data, to help you clear the slate and use the skills you use on the job. My goal when you walk out the door is that you’re thinking differently about the job.”

Take a look: Off the Beat and Into a Museum: Art Helps Police Officers Learn to Look