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This chapter provides an overview of the psychology of art and aesthetics, especially as it relates to the psychology of creativity. Borrowing from Rhodes’ (1961) conceptualization of creativity, the four main aspects of the aesthetic experience of art are examined: process, product, person, and press. Process refers to the perceptual and cognitive processes involved in the experience of art. These processes progress from early, automatic processing of basic visual features (e.g., contrast and symmetry) and identification of depicted objects to more complex responses involving meaning-making and aesthetic judgments of an artwork. The product is the artwork that has resulted from the creative process, which then becomes the object of attention during an aesthetic encounter. The person is the art perceiver whose art-related knowledge and experiences as well as personality characteristics affect his or her aesthetic experience of art. Finally, press refers to the influence of the context (e.g., museum vs. laboratory) in which an artwork is viewed. Research findings relevant to each of these aspects of the aesthetic experience are discussed.
In this chapter, we review research on creativity with visual art, and, specifically, how this has been addressed within the psychology of art. We begin with a brief review of the history of psychology of art and the unique challenges associated with studying artistic creativity and expression. We then review current creativity studies that touch on art making and that focus on techniques and methods that provide the foundation for current research. We conclude with a consideration of important questions that hold particular intrigue for future study, such as questions related to artistic development, approaches to assessing art making, and the artistic brain.
The psychology of aesthetics and the arts is dedicated to the study of our experiences of the visual arts, music, literature, film, performances, architecture and design; our experiences of beauty and ugliness; our preferences and dislikes; and our everyday perceptions of things in our world. The Cambridge Handbook of the Psychology of Aesthetics and the Arts is a foundational volume presenting an overview of the key concepts and theories of the discipline where readers can learn about the questions that are being asked and become acquainted with the perspectives and methodologies used to address them. The psychology of aesthetics and the arts is one of the oldest areas of psychology but it is also one of the fastest growing and most exciting areas. This is a comprehensive and authoritative handbook featuring essays from some of the most respected scholars in the field.