Entitling art: Influence of title information on understanding and appreciation of paintings

Authors/others:Leder, Helmut; Carbon, Claus-Christian; Ripsas, Ai-Leen (Freie Universität Berlin (FU))
Abstract:There is evidence that presenting titles together with artworks affects their processing. We investigated whether elaborative and descriptive titles change the appreciation and understanding of paintings. Under long presentation times (90 s) in Experiment 1, testing representative and abstract paintings, elaborative titles increased the understanding of abstract paintings but not their appreciation. In order to test predictions concerning the time course of understanding and aesthetic appreciation [Leder, H., Belke, B., Oeberst, A., & Augustin, D. (2004). A model of aesthetic appreciation and aesthetic judgments. British Journal of Psychology, 95(4), 489¿508] in Experiment 2, abstract paintings were presented under two presentation times. For short presentation times (1 s), descriptive titles increased the understanding more than elaborative titles, whereas for medium presentation times (10 s), elaborative titles increased the understanding more than descriptive titles. Thus, with artworks a presentation time of around 10 s might be needed, to assign a meaning beyond the mere description. Only at medium presentation times did the participants with more art knowledge have a better understanding of the paintings than participants with less art knowledge. Thus, it seems that art knowledge becomes significant, if there is sufficient time to assign a meaning and the present studies reveal the importance of considering the time course in aesthetic appreciation.
Number of pages:23
Date of publication:2006
Journal title:Acta Psychologica
Peer reviewed:true
Publication Type:Article