The role of psychological distancing in appreciation of art: Can native versus foreign language context affect responses to abstract and representational paintings?

Elena Stephan, Miriam Faust, Katy Borodkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Our work examines the role of psychological distancing in responses to art. We argued that the context of a foreign (vs native) language may distance the individual away from the pragmatic everyday perception style and enhance appreciation of paintings. We established the distinction between the sets of abstract and representational paintings in terms of perceptual-cognitive features and affective responses (Study 1). Then, we examined the influence of language context on appreciation of paintings. When examined separately, abstract paintings were better appreciated within a foreign (than native) language context (Study 2a), whereas appreciation of representational paintings was not significantly enhanced by a foreign language (Study 2b). The combined analysis of Studies 2a and 2b suggests, however, that distance induced by the foreign language similarly enhances appreciation of abstract and representational art.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume186
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Art appreciation
  • Bilingualism
  • Psychological distance

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