‘Aesthetic Aha’: The pleasure of gaining insight

Detecting sheep within clouds, feeling the relieve when a strong tension in a piece of music gets resolved or getting a grip on what Picasso might have concealed in one of his Cubist artworks—experience is dynamic and marked by semantical instabilities on one hand and insights on the other. The ‘Aesthetic Aha’ effect (Muth & Carbon, 2013) reveals the hedonic potential of such moments of temporary semantic stability: liking of simple two-tone images increases after having detected a facial Gestalt in it (Muth & Carbon, 2013).


Other examples are Cubist artworks are preferred if they offer insight into conceived elements (Muth, Pepperell & Carbon, 2013) and the emergence of figurative elements within an artistic movie not only predicts liking but is preceded by an increase in interest as well (Muth, Raab & Carbon, 2015, see video below). Positive affect can be gained not only by arriving at an insight but by anticipating it as well.

Konstrukte from claude muth on Vimeo.

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