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Open Access Measurement problems and measurement strategies for capturing the rich experience of art

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Art experience is per definition a dynamic way of processing: While perceiving the artistic object, the film, the music play, we undergo complex affective as well as cognitive experiences interactively changing the entire processing. Elaboration, understanding, aesthetic aha-insights etc. change the view on the to-be-processed entity—psychologically interpreted, the entity becomes a part of ourselves. Most methods of measuring art experience are not able to reflect on these dynamics; most of them are just object-based, e.g. correlative approaches of bringing statically assumed object-properties together with simple ratings on these "objects". Here, I will demonstrate the limitations of such approaches, accompanied by the introduction of some simple principles to be followed when art experience is the focus of research. I will then introduce some methods which can assist in unfolding the process character of art experience without interfering too much with the experience as such: For instance, by using posturography, the Continuous Evaluation Procedure (CEP) or automatic facial expression routines. When these techniques are employed with clear rationales in mind, and by deriving concrete hypotheses from a well-grounded theoretical approach, we can come much closer to the rich experience people have when encountering and elaborating art. This will assist us in our human-history-encompassing endeavor of deciphering what and how art is processed and appreciated.
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Keywords: AESTHETICS; ART & PERCEPTION; ART & SCIENCE; ART EXPERIENCE; ART PERCEPTION; DYNAMICS; MEASUREMENT; METHODS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 29 January 2017

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