Positive fEMG Patterns with Ambiguity in Paintings

Author(s)
Martina Jakesch, Jürgen Goller, Helmut Leder
Abstract

Whereas ambiguity in everyday life is often negatively evaluated, it is considered key in art appreciation. In a facial EMG study, we tested whether the positive role of visual ambiguity in paintings is reflected in a continuous affective evaluation on a subtle level. We presented ambiguous (disfluent) and non-ambiguous (fluent) versions of Magritte paintings and found that M. Zygomaticus major activation was higher and M. corrugator supercilii activation was lower for ambiguous than for non-ambiguous versions. Our findings reflect a positive continuous affective evaluation to visual ambiguity in paintings over the 5 s presentation time. We claim that this finding is indirect evidence for the hypothesis that visual stimuli classified as art, evoke a safe state for indulging into experiencing ambiguity, challenging the notion that processing fluency is generally related to positive affect.

Organisation(s)
Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology
Journal
Frontiers in Psychology
Volume
8
DOI
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00785
Publication date
05-2017
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
501011 Cognitive psychology, 501001 General psychology
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/positive-femg-patterns-with-ambiguity-in-paintings(e5785220-f213-45fd-ad28-d56d9323f095).html