And all that jazz: Rigor and relevance in the psychology of aesthetics and the arts

Jeffrey K. Smith, Pablo P.L. Tinio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the introduction to this volume, we provided the following definition “The psychology of aesthetics and the arts is the study of our interactions with artworks our reactions to paintings, literature, poetry, music, movies and performances our experiences of beauty and ugliness our preferences and dislikes and our everyday perceptions of things in our world – of natural and built environments, design objects, consumer products and, of course, people” We were not attempting to provide a simple textbook definition of the discipline instead, we meant for it to be a working definition that reflects not only the chapters in this volume, but also a set of themes that we believe characterizes the psychology of aesthetics and the arts. The field allows for a range of art forms and human experiences, including our interactions with visual artworks, music, literature, film, performances, design, architecture and people. The field uses vastly different methodologies to answer questions. The field examines the full range of human responses such as perceptual, cognitive and emotional responses within the context of both conceptual-theoretical and applied levels of inquiry. The field, as a whole, has been invigorated in recent years by new and interesting questions. As we chose the areas and chapters to include, and the scholars we wanted to ask to participate in this work, we drew on both our personal backgrounds in the field, but also on our work as editors of the journal, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. We have looked at hundreds of manuscripts over the past 10 years. What we discovered as we explored possibilities and discussed alternatives is that this is a field that is incredibly energized right now. It is in the process of redefining itself in new and exciting ways. We see in the chapters included discussions ranging from music to street signs, from Hokusai to Van Gogh. In this final chapter, we will use the set of themes listed above as a basis for examining the chapters in this book.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook Of the Psychology of Aesthetics and the Arts
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781139207058
ISBN (Print)9781107026285
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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