Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Evidence from a common mnemonic advantage between aesthetics judgement and self-reference - Université Paris Cité Access content directly
Journal Articles PsyArXiv Year : 2020

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Evidence from a common mnemonic advantage between aesthetics judgement and self-reference

Abstract

A long-lasting and unresolved debate in the field of aesthetics is whether beauty is inherent to the object of appreciation or to the subject contemplating it. Several studies suggest that physical features (e.g., symmetry, contrast) of an artwork influence aesthetic rating. Nevertheless, this objectivist approach fails to explain the idiosyncratic nature of aesthetic experiences (AE). Recent models propose a multi-process account of AE, integrating a subjective evaluation based on self-referential processing. This proposition seems coherent with neuroimaging studies showing activation of a common neural network during AE and self-reference. Nevertheless, behavioural data supporting this hypothesis is missing. We took advantage of the self-reference effect (SRE) in memory – the mnemonic advantage for material encoded in a self-related mode - to test the hypothesis that aesthetic judgement is based on self-related processes. We predicted that if aesthetic judgement recruits self-referential processing, incidentally encoding artworks in this condition should produce a similar mnemonic advantage as the SRE. To test this hypothesis, 30 participants incidentally encoded 60 painting in three conditions: self-reference, judgement of beauty and judgement of symmetry (control condition). We found that items encoded in the aesthetic judgment condition were as well recognized as those encoded in self-reference condition when participants gave extreme judgements on the beauty scale during encoding. These findings suggest that at least intense AEs activate an individual’s sense of self.
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Dates and versions

hal-04025087 , version 1 (11-03-2023)

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Hyojun Lee, Amélie Jacquot, Dominique Makowski, Margherita Arcangeli, Jérôme Dokic, et al.. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Evidence from a common mnemonic advantage between aesthetics judgement and self-reference. PsyArXiv, 2020, ⟨10.31234/osf.io/rw39q⟩. ⟨hal-04025087⟩
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