The three essential spheres
However seductive and current, evolutionary accounts of aesthetics provide little explanation for the particularities of the histories of any of the art forms. Nor do accounts based on biological predilections explain how individuals grow to understand and enjoy art across cultural context. We argue that meaningful accounts of arts learning and development need to integrate three spheres of psychological explanations of the arts: universal/evolutionary, cultural/contextual and individual. To illustrate this integration, we discuss two examples: research on the reported U-shaped, rather than linear pattern, in artistic development, and the emergence of new types of artistic activity in the digital participatory cultures. In our view, artistic learning and development emerges as complex and not reducible to acultural, acontextual, non-idiographic accounts.
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