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The stream of experience when watching artistic movies. Dynamic aesthetic effects revealed by the continuous evaluation procedure (CEP)

By Claudia eMuth, Claudia eMuth, Marius Hans Raab, Marius Hans Raab and Claus-Christian eCarbon and Claus-Christian eCarbon


Research in perception and appreciation is often focused on snapshots, stills of experience. Static approaches allow for multidimensional assessment, but are unable to catch the crucial dynamics of affective and perceptual processes; for instance, aesthetic phenomena such as the ‘Aesthetic-Aha’ (the increase in liking after the sudden detection of Gestalt), effects of expectation, or Berlyne’s idea that ‘disorientation’ with a ‘promise of success’ elicits interest. We conducted empirical studies on indeterminate artistic movies depicting the evolution and metamorphosis of Gestalt and investigated (i) the effects of sudden perceptual insights on liking; that is, Aesthetic Aha-effects, (ii) the dynamics of interest before moments of insight, and (iii) the dynamics of complexity before and after moments of insight. Via the so-called Continuous Evaluation Procedure (CEP) enabling analogous evaluation in a continuous way, participants assessed the material on two aesthetic dimensions blockwise either in a gallery or a laboratory. The material’s inherent dynamics were described via assessments of liking, interest, determinacy and surprise along with a computational analysis on the variable complexity. We identified moments of insight as peaks in determinacy and surprise. Statistically significant changes in liking and interest demonstrated that: (i) insights increase liking, (ii) interest already increases 1,500 ms before such moments of insight, supporting the idea that it is evoked by an expectation of understanding, and (iii) insights occur during increasing complexity. We propose a preliminary model of dynamics in liking and interest with regard to complexity and perceptual insight and discuss descriptions of participants’ experiences of insight. Our results point to the importance of systematic analyses of dynamics in art perception and appreciation

Topics: Art, aesthetics, ambiguity, Aesthetic Aha, Indeterminacy, Dynamic appreciation, Psychology, BF1-990
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00365
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