Do You See What I See? an Investigation of the Aesthetic Experience in the Laboratory and Museum

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Two studies examined people's aesthetic experiences of art in the laboratory and the museum. The theoretical framework guiding the research was based on the Mirror Model of Art (Tinio, 2013), which proposes that the process of artistic creation and artistic reception mirror each other. Study 1 used a think-aloud protocol to assess people's natural and spontaneous reactions while looking at art. Study 2 examined whether presenting information about an artwork in a certain order (lower-order to higherorder information or higher-order to lower-order information) enhances aspects of the aesthetic experience and retention of information about art. Studies 1 and 2 were each conducted both in a laboratory and in a museum. The results replicate those of previous research that showed that the aesthetic experience of art is enhanced in the museum as compared with the laboratory setting. In addition, the results show that the effects of presenting information in a certain order (lower-order to higher-order information) depend on the context of presentation: museum visitors were better able to remember information about art than laboratory participants. Overall, the findings suggest that the Mirror Model is a good representation of how people naturally process art, but that certain aspects of the model could be optimized.



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