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J Vis. 2015;15(5):11. doi: 10.1167/15.5.11.

Shared liking and association valence for representational art but not abstract art.

Abstract

We examined the finding that aesthetic evaluations are more similar across observers for representational images than for abstract images. It has been proposed that a difference in convergence of observers' tastes is due to differing levels of shared semantic associations (Vessel & Rubin, 2010). In Experiment 1, student participants rated 20 representational and 20 abstract artworks. We found that their judgments were more similar for representational than abstract artworks. In Experiment 2, we replicated this finding, and also found that valence ratings given to associations and meanings provided in response to the artworks converged more across observers for representational than for abstract art. Our empirical work provides insight into processes that may underlie the observation that taste for representational art is shared across individual observers, while taste for abstract art is more idiosyncratic.

PMID:
26067529
DOI:
10.1167/15.5.11
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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