Aesthetic Appreciation Explicated
Sammanfattning: The present doctoral thesis outlines a new model in psychological aesthetics, named the Information-Load Model. This model asserts that aesthetic appreciation is grounded in the relationship between the amount of information of stimuli and people’s capacity to process this information. This relationship results in information load, which in turn creates emotional responses to stimuli. Aesthetic appreciation corresponds to an optimal degree of information load. Initially, the optimal degree is relatively low. As an individual learns to master information in a domain (e.g., photography), the degree of information load, which corresponds to aesthetic appreciation, increases.The present doctoral thesis is based on three empirical papers that explored what factors determine aesthetic appreciation of photographs and soundscapes. Experiment 1 of Paper I involved 34 psychology undergraduates and 564 photographs of various motifs. It resulted in a set of 189 adjectives related to the degree of aesthetic appreciation of photographs. The subsequent experiments employed attribute scales that were derived from this set of adjectives. In Experiment 2 of Paper I, 100 university students scaled 50 photographs on 141 attribute scales. Similarly, in Paper II, 100 university students scaled 50 soundscapes on 116 attribute scales. In Paper III, 10 psychology undergraduates and 5 photo professionals scaled 32 photographs on 27 attribute scales. To explore the underlying structure of the data sets, they were subjected to Multidimensional Scaling and Principal Components Analyses. Four general components, related to aesthetic appreciation, were found: Familiarity, Hedonic Tone, Expressiveness, and Uncertainty. These components result from the higher-order latent factor Information Load that underlies aesthetic appreciation.
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