Theory of mind increases aesthetic appreciation in visual arts
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Theory of mind is a cognitive ability that enables us to understand mental states of others, important in real-life communications as well as in aesthetic cognition. The present research investigated whether understanding intentions and emotions is related to aesthetic appreciation. Study 1 tested whether there is a link between aesthetic appreciation of cinematic films and attempts to understand the intentions and emotions of the artists and the film characters. It showed that a self-reported understanding of emotions and intentions is positively associated with aesthetic appreciation. Studies 2 and 4 investigated a causal relationship between the attempt to understand emotions and an aesthetic appreciation of artistic photos. Study 3 investigated an actual understanding of emotions and aesthetic appreciation of movie shots. The results show that when people evaluate the emotional state of the characters, they aesthetically appreciate artistic photos more, compared to when they evaluate non-mental characteristics of these photos (age of the characters, the colour of the photos). Moreover, better understanding of another’s emotions is related to greater aesthetic appreciation.
Iosifian , M 2021 , ' Theory of mind increases aesthetic appreciation in visual arts ' , Art & Perception , vol. Advance articles . https://doi.org/10.1163/22134913-bja10011
Art & Perception
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