There's nothing that surprises me about these scientific findings concluding that art makes for better thinkers and nicer people. I think artists understand this intrinsically, especially those who work with youth.
To artists it's much more than a hunch, but more of a fact understood, that students exposed to art, learn about culture in a way that fosters intellectual and emotional intelligence in a holistic way. It's not news or rocket science, that scientific studies indicate that students gain a " greater tolerance, historical empathy, as well as better educational memory and critical thinking skills" when they are exposed to art education. Unfortunately it seems scientific study is listened to more so, as opposed to art educators and what they know about creativity.
It's a sad commentary really on society, and on a educational system that depends on science to prove what art educators have long known, that art and creativity should be considered one of the very basics, and creativity should be at the very foundation of the educational system, and reflected in the curriculum.