In two studies, we explored the frequency and phenomenology of musical imagery. Study 1 used retrospective reports of musical imagery to assess the contribution of individual differences to imagery characteristics. Study 2 used an experience sampling design to assess the phenomenology of musical imagery over the course of one week in a sample of musicians and non-musicians. Both studies found episodes of musical imagery to be common and positive: people rarely wanted such experiences to end and often heard music that (...) was personally meaningful. Several variables predicted musical imagery, including personality, musical preferences, and positive mood. Musicians tended to hear musical imagery more often, but they reported less frequent episodes of deliberately-generated imagery. Taken together, the present research provides new insights into individual differences in musical imagery, and it supports the emerging view that such experiences are common, positive, and more voluntary than previously recognized. (shrink)
The ability to distinguish between emotions is considered indicative of well-being, but does emotion differentiation in an aesthetic context also reflect deeper and more knowledgeable aesthetic experiences? Here we examine whether positive and negative ED in response to artistic stimuli reflects higher fluency in an aesthetic domain. Particularly, we test whether knowledge of the arts and curiosity are associated with more fine-grained positive and negative aesthetic experiences. A sample of 214 people rated their positive and negative feelings in response to (...) various artworks including positive and negative themes. Positive ED was associated with the embracing sub-trait of curiosity that reflects engagement and enjoyment of novelty and complexity, but was unrelated to artistic knowledge and perceived comprehension. Negative ED was associated with higher curiosity and particularly more knowledge of the arts. This relationship was mediated by appraised comprehension suggesting that deeper engagement with art, by those with more art knowledge, is associated with more fine-grained emotional experiences. This finding extends ED beyond well-being research and suggests that more nuanced emotional experiences are more likely for those with expertise in the arts and motivation for exploration. (shrink)
This comment proposes that Bullot & Reber's (B&R's) emphasis on historical and intentional knowledge expands the range of emotions that can be properly viewed as aesthetic states. Many feelings, such as anger, contempt, shame, confusion, and pride, come about through complex aesthetic meanings, which integrate conceptual knowledge, beliefs about the work and the artist's intentions, and the perceiver's goals and values.