Do people experience art differently in museums and classrooms? Ishiguro and colleagues report that their study “participants viewed 14 specific artworks before and after participating in the VTS [visual thinking strategies] program. The time that participants spent viewing the art and their evaluations of each picture were measured. The results showed that the artworks in the VTS program were found to be more interesting, better liked, and more beautiful in the museum context compared to the classroom context.
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.”
Li and Tian assessed how viewing preferred art influences perceptions of the amount of time that has passed. The researchers report that “Participants who preferred Chinese paintings . . . and participants who preferred western paintings . . . were recruited. . . . participants who preferred Chinese paintings exhibited longer time perceptions for Chinese paintings than for western paintings, while the participants who preferred western paintings exhibited longer time perceptions for western paintings than for Chinese paintings. . . .
Specker and colleagues evaluated the implications of an artwork’s context. They report that their work was “conducted in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. . . . We used an impressionist artwork of waterlilies by Monet, placed within both a temporary exhibition—meant to highlight his revolutionary anticipation of abstraction—and within a permanent exhibition of other impressionistic pieces not highlighting deviance. Results showed that the artist was indeed considered more influential in the temporary exhibition.
Szubielska and Niestorowicz evaluated how responses to tactile art, art developed for people who are visually impaired, are influenced by being able to see that art. They report that “By providing the context of a contemporary art exhibition designed to be touched, we studied haptic pleasure towards artworks. In line with our hypothesis, seeing affected the evaluation of haptic pleasure which was higher in the blindfolded-tactile than visuo-tactile condition. Thus, seeing seems to impede the tactile processing of artworks. . .
Whitley, Kalof, and Flach determined that looking at close-up portraits of animals, as opposed to images that show the same sorts of animals in the contexts of their natural environments, has special effects on our responses to those animals. The investigators studied, via an online survey, “how individuals respond to traditional wildlife photography and animal portraiture. Those who were exposed to animal portraits reported increased empathy and decreased positive and relaxed emotions.
Redies and colleagues studied the qualities of images to learn which ones are most likely to be present in preferred images. They determined that “more saturated colors, correlates with positive ratings for valence [which ranged from pleasant to unpleasant]. . . . we obtained evidence from non-linear and linear analyses that affective pictures evoke emotions not only by what they show, but they also differ by how they show.”
Estrada-Gonzalez and teammates studied the effects of painting size on museum visitors’ viewing behaviors. A literature review completed by the team before they began to collect data revealed that “Seidel and Prinz (2018) . . . found that merely altering physical scale of a painting (small vs. large) influenced aesthetic judgment. Participants evaluated larger reproductions more positively, regardless of whether the painting was high in complexity (Picasso’s Three Musicians) or low (Joan Miro’s Blue II). . . .
Williams and colleagues evaluated preferences for various painting techniques.