The A to Z of Aesthetics (The A to Z Guide Series)

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According to our approach, aesthetic experience can focus on a wide spectrum of objects, including intentionally created artworks and aesthetically designed objects eg, clothing, cars , natural scenes and events, human beings and animals, objects of everyday use, and so on. The main condition that such objects must satisfy to become the objects of aesthetic experience is the transcendence from the pragmatic to the aesthetic symbolic level of meaning.

For instance, some natural scenes and events, such as observing the stormy sky with strong lightings, may be extremely fascinating and induce the impressions of the mystical and sublime power of nature and our weakness and helplessness. The appraisal of such symbolism and the accompanying collection of emotions, such as fear, surprise, awe, excitement, and the like, can generate the aesthetic experience in its full meaning.

However, the emerging of aesthetic experience is not automatic; it is the result of an ecological and social context which specifies the particular subject-object relationship. Namely, some persons, such as farmers, are not aesthetically fascinated at all with a storm. Their appraisals would be dominantly pragmatic: a storm is a dangerous event which can cause serious damage; it can destroy their crops and the like. A similar duality of the object's status can be identified even in the realm of art.

Namely, artworks are not automatically and objectively the objects of aesthetic experience. For many non-experts, artworks are rather seen as the ornamental parts of the everyday environment than as exceptional objects with deeper aesthetic symbolism cf Winston and Cupchik Also, artworks can be treated and experienced very pragmatically, as material goods in an art market.

Further conceptualization of aesthetic experience should specify possible differences and similarities in various forms of aesthetic experience. Some analyses and findings suggest that aesthetic experience can be generated in two forms, such as fascination with unusual, uncertain, ambiguous, and conflicting information eg, modern art , and admiration to perfect articulation, complex compositional regularities, and sophistication of multilevel symbolic narratives eg, classical art cf Berlyne , ; Kubovy ; Silvia Finally, the more comprehensive approach to aesthetic experience should take into account its biological and psychological functions.

We can speculate that the function of aesthetic experience comprises the functions of two groups of close phenomena, such as other exceptional experiences eg, peak experiences, flow, etc and the experience of beauty eg, pleasure, attraction, harmony, etc. In the psychology of art, the functional aspect of symbolism in aesthetic experience was a favourite topic of psychoanalytically oriented theories cf Freud ; Kris , whereas the psycho-biological approaches were predominantly oriented towards a biological basis of aesthetic preference and aesthetic attraction cf Ramachandran and Hirstein ; Singh ; Symons We believe that in the future the neuroscience of awareness and states of consciousness combined with the biological approach could be very fruitful for the better understanding of the basic function of aesthetic experience.

His main research interests include experimental aesthetic, psychology of art, and perceptual organization. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Iperception v. Published online Jan Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received May 14; Revised Sep This open-access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Licence, which permits noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction, provided the original author s and source are credited and no alterations are made.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract In this paper aesthetic experience is defined as an experience qualitatively different from everyday experience and similar to other exceptional states of mind. Keywords: aesthetic experience, fascination, appraisal, emotion, narrative, composition.

Introduction Aesthetic experience is one of the most important but also one of the vaguest and most poorly specified concepts in the psychology of art and experimental aesthetics. Aesthetic experience: summary of preliminary definitions In the preliminary definitions of aesthetic experience and similar phenomena, three characteristics can be identified as crucial and distinctive. The structure of aesthetic experience In the previous paragraphs the characteristics of aesthetic experience were derived from conceptual definitions and analyses.

The functional model of aesthetic experience Aesthetic information processing is usually described as a multi-stage process. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Aesthetic information processing Figure 2 shows the cognitive processes involved in aesthetic information processing at the main stage of the model. Figure 2. The processing of a narrative In its strict meaning, a narrative is defined as a temporal semantic structure which provides different kinds of information Chatman The processing of form and composition Every object of aesthetic processing has some physical form which determines the stylistic aspect of the artwork's identity.

Aesthetic emotions and other emotions Silvia has pointed out that aesthetic appraisal includes a wide spectrum of specific emotions including pleasure, pride, surprise, anger, disgust, contempt, shame, guilt, regret, embarrassment, confusion, and so on Silvia ; see also Cooper and Silvia ; Silvia and Brown Integration: aesthetic awareness The processing of aesthetic information is based on cognitive structures which are capable of solving perceptually and semantically demanding tasks, such as the interpretation of multi-level symbolism, association of distant narrative frameworks into temporally and conceptually coherent structures, detection of sophisticated compositional regularities, integration of multi-level perceptual, symbolic, and affective information, and so on.

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The gateway hypothesis of rostral prefrontal cortex area 10 function. Story and discourse: Narrative structure in fiction and film. Prospects for a cognitive neuroscience of visual aesthetics. Bulletin of Psychology and the Arts. Silvia P J. Opposing art: Rejection as an active tendency of hostile aesthetic emotions. Rathunde K. Nebraska symposium on motivation Vol Developmental perspectives on motivation.

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Aesthetics is not a "factual" discipline; there are no aesthetic facts. The word itself is derived from the Greek word for "feeling" and the discipline arises because. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Dabney Townsend is professor of philosophy and special.

Scenario-based touching: On the influence of top-down processes on tactile and visual appreciation. Research in Engineering Design. Takete—Maluma phenomenon. Implicit semantic features and aesthetic preference. Journal of Vision. New York: Oxford University Press; Neural events and perceptual awareness. McDermott J. Chun M M. The fusiform face area: a module in human extrastriate cortex specialized for face perception.

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Implicit and explicit features of visual Gestalten. Implicit and explicit features of paintings. Spatial Vision. Aesthetic experience and emotional content of paintings.

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