Beyond the Lab

Matthew Pelowski, Michael Forster, Pablo Tinio, Maria Scholl, Helmut Leder

The authors present a comprehensive review and theoretical discussion of factors that could influence ourinteraction with museum-based art. Art is an important stimulus that reveals core insights about humanbehavior and thought. Art perception is in fact often considered one of the few uniquely humanphenomena whereby we process multiple types of information, experience myriad emotions, makeevaluations, and where these elements not only occur but dynamically combine. Art viewing often occursin museums, which—in conjunction with “real” artworks—may contribute greatly to experience. How-ever, to date, psychological aesthetics studies have only begun to consider in-museum examinations,focusing instead on highly controlled laboratory-based studies, and leading to calls for a need to shift toecologically valid examinations. To provide a foundation for such research, the authors consider whatkey psychological differences may be expected between original/reproduced and museum/lab-based art,and why the art experience may be different when occurring within the museum context. They alsoreview factors that should be controlled for, or which may raise new, unexplored areas for empiricalresearch. These include 3 main levels: the artwork, the viewer, and physical aspects of the museum. Theauthors connect these factors to a model of art processing and relate to findings from sociology andgeneral museum studies, which have largely been overlooked in psychological aesthetics research.Keywords: visual art, museum study, ecologically valid study, art perception, context effectsSupplemental materials:

Beyond the Lab: An Examination of Key Factors Influencing Interaction with ‘Real’ and Museum-based Art (PDF Download Available). Available from:'Real'_and_Museum-based_Art [accessed Aug 16, 2017].

Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology
External organisation(s)
Montclair State University, City University of New York, Queens College
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
501001 General psychology, 501011 Cognitive psychology
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