Abstract Art, Abstract Thinking (08-14-20)

Durkin and colleagues link seeing abstract art and more abstract thinking.  They report that “In three different decision making tasks, we found that abstract art evokes a more abstract mindset than representational art. Our data suggest that abstract and representational art have differential effects on cognition. . . .  abstract art was evocative of greater psychological distance. Our data demonstrate that different levels of artistic abstraction evoke different levels of mental abstraction.”

Celia Durkin, Eileen Hartnett, Daphna Shohamy, and Eric Kandel. 2020. “An Objective Evaluation of the Beholder’s Response to Abstract and Figurative Art Based on Construal Level Theory.”  PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2001772117