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The Cognitive Basis of Aesthetic Experience

Margot D. Lasher, John M. Carroll and Thomas G. Bever
Leonardo
Vol. 16, No. 3, Special Issue: Psychology and the Arts (Summer, 1983), pp. 196-199
Published by: The MIT Press
DOI: 10.2307/1574913
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1574913
Page Count: 4
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The Cognitive Basis of Aesthetic Experience
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Abstract

This paper outlines a psychological theory of aesthetic experience. The theory is based upon the role of representational conflict and the natural process of resolving such conflict during mental growth in childhood. It proposes that aesthetic experience in adults re-creates the type of mental and emotional activity that is typical of childhood mental growth. Works of art provide the experience of mental growth and the emotional responses accompanying this growth, long after the initial process of understanding the world has been completed. The framework for mental representation and the resolving of representational conflicts comes from the field of cognitive psychology and the developmental theory of Piaget.

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