Art Context and Experience (12-06-19)

Krauss and teammates evaluated how the context in which art is shown influences human responses to it via a study in an actual museum.  They report that their “study set out to assess the aesthetic experience and psychophysiological responses of participants in an art museum viewing 6 artworks of Flemish expressionism. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the experimental conditions, either receiving elaborative information or descriptive information on the artworks. Aesthetic experiences were assessed via a questionnaire and through psychophysiological markers. A systematic influence of contextual information on aesthetic experience could not be shown. However, artworks had effects on aesthetic experience and heart rate, heart rate variability, skin conductance, and skin conductance variability. The results indicate that the characteristics of the artwork itself have a stronger impact than provided contextual information, at least when they are perceived as originals in a museum.”

Luisa Krauss, Celine Ott, Klaus Opwis, Andrea Meyer, and Jens Gaab.  “Impact of Contextualizing Information on Aesthetic Experience of Psychophysiological Responses to Art in a Museum:  A Naturalistic Randomized Controlled Trial.”  Psychology of Aesthetics Creativity and the Arts, In press, https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000280