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Psychophysiological Responses to Aesthetic Stimuli

Hager, Marieke

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A growing body of research investigates how people respond to art, how art preferences are related to personality traits, or what specific brain structures are involved in the appreciation of artworks. However, most of this research measures the aesthetic experience with a single item (e.g., “the artwork is pleasant”). The aim of the present work was to use a multidimensional approach to (I) analyze the factor structure of an aesthetic experience and (II) to construct the Art Reception Survey (ARS) to validly measure these factors. In study 1, 193 participants rated different art paintings of various styles and artists with a set of 76 items describing various components of an aesthetic experience. Principal component analysis revealed a six-factor structure including the recipient’s cognitive involvement, his or her positive and negative affective appraisal, self-referential aspects, judgments about the artistic quality and creativity, as well as information about the knowledge and comprehension the recipient has about the artwork. Furthermore, we examined the specificity of the ARS scales for art stimuli by comparing the questionnaire between art and non-art stimuli (study 2). The results of both studies indicate adequate reliability and validity of the instrument. In future research, the ARS and its specification of relevant facets of an aesthetic experience may help to gain a better understanding of the complex relationships with personality traits or even psychophysiological correlates.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Hagemann, Prof. Dr. Dirk
Place of Publication: Heidelberg, Deutschland
Date of thesis defense: 19 December 2012
Date Deposited: 23 May 2013 08:19
Date: 30 June 2012
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Behavioural and Cultural Studies > Institute of Psychology
Subjects: 150 Psychology
Controlled Keywords: aesthetic appreciation, art reception survey, physiological processing of art, startle response parameter, onset latency, aesthetic emotion
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