Muth and her team wondered how ambiguous artworks are evaluated. So they investigated: “Although experimental research has shown people’s particular appreciation for highly familiar and prototypical objects that are fluently [easily] processed, there is increasing evidence that in the arts people often prefer ambiguous materials which are processed less fluently. . . . we empirically show that modern and contemporary ambiguous artworks evoking perceptual challenge are indeed appreciated. . . .
Sometimes we believe artworks are originals and other times feel that they are copies or fakes. Locher, Krupinski, and Schaefer report that “Thirty art-sophisticated and naïve adults were shown digital versions of paintings by renowned artists under 3 alleged authenticity status conditions: originals, copies, or fakes. . . . ratings for both pleasantness and artistic merit of the artworks did not differ reliably as a function of alleged authenticity status for either group of participants.”
No wonder it’s so difficult to select art for shared spaces! Sherman, Grabowecky, and Suzuki asked “What shapes art appreciation? Much research has focused on the importance of visual features themselves (e.g., symmetry, natural scene statistics) and of the viewer’s experience and expertise with specific artworks. However, even after taking these factors into account, there are considerable individual differences in art preferences.
When to ditch the deserts
People viewing art have clear expectations for the direction of apparent motion in still images such as artwork. Walker asked, “What artistic conventions are used to convey the motion of animate and inanimate items in still images, such as drawings and photographs?” He reports that “One graphic convention involves depicting items leaning forward into their movement, with greater leaning conveying greater speed. . . . people . . . expect to see, or prefer to see, lateral movement (real or implied) in a left to right direction, rather than a right to left direction. . . .
Whether it’s subtle or dramatic, large or small
It’s easy to forget that varying levels of technical sophistication have allowed us to produce different dyes, paints, and coloring agents at different times in our history. In a sumptuously illustrated, fun-to-read, well-researched text, Finlay details the evolving use of color in visual art. Her material is particularly interesting in light of research reported in Research Design Connections linking color saturation and brightness to mood.
Victoria Finlay. 2014. The Brilliant History of Color in Art. J. Paul Getty Museum: Los Angeles, CA.
Stellar and her colleagues have linked feeling awe with lower inflammation levels throughout the body. As they report “awe, measured in two different ways, was the strongest predictor of lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines.” This is important because “Chronically elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the absence of illness or injury can lead to negative health outcomes. . . .
Recent research provides insights useful to peo
Recent research provides insights useful to people selecting art. Via a study that will be published in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, a team led by Anke Karl learned that “Being shown pictures of others being loved and cared for reduces the brain’s response to threat. . . .