Insights into the instable : dynamics in perception and appreciation of ambiguous and indeterminate art

Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Muth, Claudia 
Publisher Information: Bamberg : opus
Year of publication: 2015
Pages: 124 ; Illustrationen, Diagramme
Supervisor(s): Carbon, Claus-Christian  ; Rüsseler, Jascha  
Language(s): English
Bamberg, Univ., Diss.
Licence: German Act on Copyright 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-opus4-455128
This dissertation presents research projects which investigated dynamics in the perception and appreciation of ambiguous and indeterminate art. It examines how semantical instability in art can induce pleasure in the perceiver although defying an easy consumption. The idea pursued within this thesis is that insights gained during an elaboration of such objects lead to an increase in appreciation (Aesthetic Aha effect, Muth & Carbon, 2013)—the creation of meaning itself being rewarding. The comprised research projects examine such dynamics in perception and appreciation of visual artworks which are semantically instable. A crucial quality of these objects might be that they confront the perceiver with semantical instability as well as opportunity for insight: for instance, we like Cubist artworks more the better we are able to discern identifiable objects in them—still they never dissolve into an easy recognizable interpretation (Muth, Pepperell, & Carbon, 2013a). Also the solvability of ambiguity in another set of visual artworks did not have positive effects on liking, interest, and affect. Instead, the strength of insights gained during their elaboration predicted appreciation positively (Muth, Hesslinger, & Carbon, 2015). In line with the Aesthetic Aha effect (Muth & Carbon, 2013) also the sudden emergence of Gestalt within indeterminate artistic movies elicited an increase in liking. Interest—in contrast –already increased prior to these moments of insight (Muth, Raab, & Carbon, 2015). The presented findings highlight that art perception does not equal a kind of problem solving process in which semantical instability needs to be resolved for the artwork to appeal. Instead appreciation might benefit from rewarding insights into the instable.
GND Keywords: Kunst; Kunstpsychologie; Ästhetische Wahrnehmung
Keywords: Art perception, indeterminacy, ambiguity, semantic instability, aesthetics
DDC Classification: 150 Psychology  
RVK Classification: CP 2500     CX 7500     CP 4000   
Type: Doctoralthesis
Year of publication: 3. December 2015

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