Aesthetic emotions are affected by context: a psychometric network analysis

Yoed N. Kenett, Eileen R. Cardillo, Alexander P. Christensen, Anjan Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aesthetic emotions are defined as emotions arising when a person evaluates a stimulus for its aesthetic appeal. Whether these emotions are unique to aesthetic activities is debated. We address this debate by examining if recollections of different types of engaging activities entail different emotional profiles. A large sample of participants were asked to recall engaging aesthetic (N = 167), non-aesthetic (N = 160), or consumer (N = 172) activities. They rated the extent to which 75 candidate aesthetic emotions were evoked by these activities. We applied a computational psychometric network approach to represent and compare the space of these emotions across the three conditions. At the behavioral level, recalled aesthetic activities were rated as the least vivid but most intense compared to the two other conditions. At the network level, we found several quantitative differences across the three conditions, related to the typology, community (clusters) and core nodes (emotions) of these networks. Our results suggest that aesthetic and non-aesthetic activities evoke emotional spaces differently. Thus, we propose that aesthetic emotions are distributed differently in a multidimensional aesthetic space than for other engaging activities. Our results highlight the context-specificity of aesthetic emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20985
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

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© 2023, The Author(s).


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