Finding meaning in art. Preferred levels of ambiguity in art appreciation.

Authors/others:Jakesch, Martina; Leder, Helmut
Abstract:Uncertainty is typically not desirable in everyday experiences, but uncertainty in the form of ambiguity may be a defining feature of aesthetic experiences of modern art. In this study, we examined different hypotheses concerning the quantity and quality of information appreciated in art. Artworks were shown together with auditorily presented statements. We tested whether the amount of information, the amount of matching information, or the proportion of matching to nonmatching statements apparent in a picture (levels of ambiguity) affect liking and interestingness. Only the levels of ambiguity predicted differences in the two dependent variables. These findings reveal that ambiguity is an important determinant of aesthetic appreciation and that a certain level of ambiguity is appreciable.
Number of pages:8
Date of publication:2009
Journal title:Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Peer reviewed:true
Bibliographical note:DOI: 10.1080/17470210903038974
Publication Type:Article