Donnerstag, 11. Mai 2017, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Move me,astonish me, make me cry and rage or don't

Investigating the varieties of reactions to museum art

Hörsaal G (2. Stock, linke Stiege), Fakultät für Psychologie
Liebigasse 5, 1010 Wien


In this talk, I will discuss a line of research over the past several years, which focuses on empirically uncovering diverse reactions to art.

Every year, millions of individuals encounter works of art. Whether in the museum, the city-center, or on the web, modern societies allocate their leisure, their interest, and their money to artistic practice and presentation. People go out of their way to seek-out famous or infamous paintings, they keep art with their households, and often consider art-viewing as a defining component of human society and culture itself. Driving this relation of human with art is a unique psychological experience. Art can engender myriad emotions. It can evoke diverse perceptions, associations, and physiological response. Art can lead to new ideas, make us cry, and in the best case mark or change our lives. Art can also of course be negative, confusing, or mundane—with our responses varying greatly between individuals, between settings, or even varying between moments for one individual within one experience itself.

However, despite this broad range of reactions had by individuals with art—due to previous focus on highly controlled laboratory study, short time durations, and basic (liking, beauty) assessments of digitized reproductions—the nature of our experiences and the questions of how they may evolve are largely overlooked in empirical and psychological study. Most pressingly, researchers have lacked both theoretical models which can account for the varieties of art response, and ecologically valid approaches with “real” art, motivated viewers, and often interactions in a museum.

I will discuss some of our attempts to address this topic, focusing on a new model of the cognitive processing of art experience, which describes the major ways we might react to art. This is accompanied by discussion of research, conducted at museums in Japan, UK, US, and now including the Albertina museum in Vienna, regarding the attempt to document and explore the complex nature of our art experiences.

Dr. Pelowski is a Marie Curie H2020 Postdoctoral Fellow, working in the Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods in the Faculty of Psychology. Previously, he worked as a Postdoc in the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and received his PhD in Information Science and Cognitive Psychology from the University of Nagoya, Japan.


Prof. Dr. Helmut Leder und Dr. Michael Forster


Abla Marie-José Bedi
Institut für Psycholgogische Grundlagenforschung und Forschungsmethoden