Cognitive Constraints on the Visual Arts: An Empirical Study of the Role of Perceived Intentions in Appreciation Judgements

Journal of Cognition and Culture 11 (1-2):115-136 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

What influences people’s appreciation of works of art? In this paper, we provide a new cognitive approach to this big question, and the first empirical results in support of it. As a work of art typically does not activate intuitive cognition for functional artefacts, it is represented as an instance of non-verbal symbolic communication. By application of Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory of communication, we hypothesize that understanding the artist’s intention plays a crucial role in intuitive art appreciation judgements. About 60 works of fine art, representing a wide range of periods, genres and styles, were selected in the permanent exhibitions at Tate Britain in London, and rated by more than 500 visitors for goodness and understanding of the artist’s intention. Results suggest that works of art whose artist’s intention is easy to understand tend to be preferred over those with more obscure intentions, even when controlling for familiarity effects.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,446

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Limits of Aesthetic Empiricism.Fabian Dorsch - 2014 - In Gregory Currie, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin & Jon Robson (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 75-100.
The intentionalist controversy and cognitive science.Raymond W. Gibbs - 1993 - Philosophical Psychology 6 (2):181-205.
The Philosophy of the Visual Arts.Philip A. Alperson (ed.) - 1992 - New York: Oxford University Press USA.
The Philosophy of the visual arts.Philip Alperson (ed.) - 1992 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Theory and philosophy in the psychology of the arts.Dean Keith Simonton - 1986 - Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 6 (2):122-123.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-08-01

Downloads
21 (#622,457)

6 months
3 (#428,620)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?