Mastering Style - Effects of Explicit Style-Related Information, Art Knowledge and Affective State on Appreciation of Abstract Paintings

By Belke, Benno; Leder, Helmut et al. | Psychology Science, April 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Mastering Style - Effects of Explicit Style-Related Information, Art Knowledge and Affective State on Appreciation of Abstract Paintings


Belke, Benno, Leder, Helmut, Augustin, M. Dorothee, Psychology Science


Abstract

Recently, Leder, Belke, Oeberst, and Augustin (2004) have proposed a model of aesthetic experience in which stylistic processing is central for aesthetic experiences of art. Here we present an empirical study which investigates predictions derived from the model. Using modern and contemporary abstract paintings we investigated how their appreciation is affected by style information generalized onto new exemplars of paintings by the same artists. In accordance with the model's predictions, effects of style processing depend on the affective states of the viewers as well as their ability for cognitive mastery, measured by amount of expertise. The experiment reveals that the examination of style-related cognitive processes is important to psychologically understand the affective, cognitive and presumably selfrewarding aspects of aesthetic experiences.

Key words: art perception, model of aesthetic experience, art expertise, mood

Mastering style. Effects of explicit style-related information, art knowledge and affective state on appreciation of abstract paintings

Art is found in all human cultures. Although not apparently functional in terms of biological adaptation on the first sight the production and reception of art must have some features which produce positive and rewarding experiences and which therefore explain its ubiquity. In order to understand which specific mechanisms are involved in the aesthetic appreciation of art, we have recently proposed a cognitive processing model of aesthetic experiences (Leder, Belke, Oeberst, & Augustin, 2004). The model describes five processing stages that are involved in an aesthetic processing experience (Perceptual Analyses, Implicit Memory Integration, Explicit Classification, Cognitive Mastering and Evaluation). Moreover the role of influencing variables such as art experience and expertise as well as initial affective state were discussed.

The earliest stages of information processing (of visual arts) are concerned with perceptual analysis of the canvas. At this stage variables of interest include for example complexity, contrast and grouping, for which a majority of contributions of empirical aesthetics are concerned with. In the stage of implicit processing the results of the perceptual analyses are set in relation to analyses that result directly from previous experience. Most important prototypicality and familiarity contribute to processing at this stage. The processing stage called Explicit Classification provides explicit representations of either depictive content or explicit style information of the artwork. Which of the two aspects becomes more central depends on and a) the amount of beholders's art expertise b) the nature of the artwork. For artexperienced viewers a type of style-related processing seems to be representative while for art naïve persons a content-related processing is rather typical (Cupchik & Laszlo, 1992). This distinction refers to search of meaning in visual art and proposes that with increasing art experience the focus on "what is depicted" shifts towards the aspect on "how it is depicted". Thus, art expertise and art experience might moderate processing at this stage. In the case of abstract art, style is believed to generally take on the role of content.

The processing stages just described are followed by cognitive evaluations, consisting of self-related and art-specific analyses, which are triggered and processed in feedback loops until a satisfactory "aesthetic concept" about the aesthetic object is generated. The evaluation phase may lead to further information processing if the state of understanding is unsatisfying or too ambiguous (Cupchik, 1992).

Central to the model is the assumption that subjective "success" in processing art (during the five processing-stages) is thought to be self-rewarding, raises aesthetic pleasure and might also increase aesthetic evaluation. For example, the experience to dissolve perceptual or conceptual ambiguity is assumed to influence the continuous affective evaluation of an artwork positively and can also result in an increase in appreciation of the artwork. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mastering Style - Effects of Explicit Style-Related Information, Art Knowledge and Affective State on Appreciation of Abstract Paintings
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.