A functional model of kitsch and art: linking aesthetic appreciation to the dynamics of social motivation





Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Ortlieb, Stefan A.  ; Carbon, Claus-Christian  
Title of the Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
ISSN: 1664-1078
Publisher Information: Lausanne : Frontiers Research Foundation
Year of publication: 2019
Volume: 9
Pages: 1-17
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02437
Abstract: 
With the advent of modernity, change and novelty have become the core values of artistic production. At the same time the derogatory term “kitsch” was coined to contrast truly ground-breaking artistic achievements. In this article, we argue that kitsch and avant-garde art ideally represent two complementary types of aesthetic experience: a fluent one that allows for immediate emotional gratification (kitsch) and a disfluent one that requires cognitive elaboration (art). We make a case that preferences for the one or the other are dynamically related to a set of conflicting needs which constitute the basic dilemma of human attachment behavior: needs for safety and intimacy versus needs for arousal and autonomy. Based on the Zurich Model of Social Motivation we hypothesize that social distance regulation and aesthetic liking are synchronized via notions of self-efficacy and autonomy: Whenever we feel safe and self-sufficient, an appetence for arousal (curiosity) is likely to arise that increases our interest in unfamiliar conspecifics as well as in innovative, cognitively challenging aesthetic stimuli (art). By contrast, when we feel vulnerable and dependent, a longing for safety and relatedness (nostalgia) attracts us not only to familiar and trustworthy individuals but also to conventional aesthetic stimuli charged with positive emotions (kitsch). This theoretical framework offers an integrative perspective on dynamics of aesthetic liking in that it unites a wide variety of phenomena from anthropology, developmental, and cognitive psychology with concepts and findings from art history, sociology of art, and empirical aesthetics.
GND Keywords: Kitsch ; Avantgarde <Kunst> ; Ästhetische Wahrnehmung ; Aufmerksamkeit ; Autonomie ; Sicherheit
Keywords: empirical aesthetics, dynamics of appreciation, art perception, kitsch, autonomy, security, arousal, Zurich Model of Social Motivation
DDC Classification: 150 Psychology  
RVK Classification: CP 2500     CP 2000   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Open Access Journal: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/45232
Year of publication: 11. February 2019
Project: Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2012-2020