Friday, December 25, 2015

Aesthetic Emotions and Aesthetic People: Openness Predicts Sensitivity to Novelty in the Experiences of Interest and Pleasure

There is a stable relationship between the Openness/Intellect domain of personality and aesthetic engagement. However, neither of these are simple constructs and while the relationship exists, process based evidence explaining the relationship is still lacking. This research sought to clarify the relationship by evaluating the influence of the Openness and Intellect aspects on several different aesthetic emotions. Two studies looked at the between- and within-person differences in arousal and the emotions of interest, pleasure and confusion in response to visual art. 

The results suggest that Openness, as opposed to Intellect, was predictive of greater arousal, interest and pleasure, while both aspects explained less confusion. Differences in Openness were associated with within-person emotion appraisal contingencies, particularly greater novelty-interest and novelty-pleasure relationships. Those higher in Openness were particularly influenced by novelty in artworks. 

For pleasure this relationship suggested a different qualitative structure of appraisals. The appraisal of novelty is part of the experience of pleasure for those high in Openness, but not those low in Openness. This research supports the utility of studying Openness and Intellect as separate aspects of the broad domain and clarifies the relationship between Openness and aesthetic states in terms of within-person appraisal processes.

Below:  A depiction of the multilevel models

Full article at:

1School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
2Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
Edited by: Nadin Beckmann, Durham University, UK
Reviewed by: Cornelia Wrzus, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany; Matthias Ziegler, Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin, Germany
*Correspondence: Kirill Fayn, ua.ude.yendys.inu@nyafk

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