Reframing Aesthetic Experience: the Influence of Racial Bias, Openness, and Cognition on Painting Perception

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University of Alabama Libraries

The present study explores whether executive functioning, openness to experience and implicit and explicit racial bias influence painting judgements. Black and White adults (aged 30+) and young adults (aged 18-29) evaluated paintings by Black and White artists and responded to items on like, comfort, valence, and value. Additionally, they completed a 44-item Big Factor Inventory, the Stroop task, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and the Symbolic Racism Scale. The results yielded statistically significant interactions between Race and Art Type on the dimensions of comfort, like and value. Specifically, White participants were less comfortable with, liked and valued Black Mainstream and Black Political art less. Additionally, White participants compared to Black participants were more likely to use racialized language when describing art in the Black Mainstream and Black Political categories. These results were consistent with expectations. Moderation analyses determined that age did not moderate any of the effects. Meaning, age in this study was not a significant factor contributing to participants ratings of paintings, this was inconsistent with expectations. Additionally, a moderation analysis determined that age, explicit and implicit racial bias, inhibitory control, and openness did not moderate the effects of the Race x Art Type interaction, meaning that racism, personality, and cognitive ability were not significant contributors to ratings of art among participants. This research supports the need for future research that explores intracultural differences in art perception and the underlying factors contributing to these differences.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Art, Bias, Culture, Enculturation, Perception