Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Aesthetic ScienceConnecting Minds, Brains, and Experience$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Arthur P. Shimamura and Stephen E. Palmer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732142.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 26 March 2019

Processing Fluency, Aesthetic Pleasure, and Culturally Shared Taste

Processing Fluency, Aesthetic Pleasure, and Culturally Shared Taste

(p.223) { 9 } Processing Fluency, Aesthetic Pleasure, and Culturally Shared Taste
Aesthetic Science

Rolf Reber

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the processing fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure and introduces a new account of socially shared tastes based on this theory. Processing fluency – or simply fluency – is defined as the ease with which information flows through the cognitive system. This ease of processing is affectively positive: People prefer things they can perceive or apprehend easily. This finding spurred the development of a processing fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure, a theory that helps explain why people find an artwork beautiful. Although beauty is not the only aesthetic quality, it was a prominent one in the history of aesthetics, and it remains an important notion in what laypeople think about art. The first part reviews the fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure, and evidence in its favor. The second part discusses challenges to the fluency theory: Some findings apparently contradict the fluency theory, and some theories put forward mechanisms that could be alternatives to fluency. Another central challenge for every theory of empirical aesthetics is the question: What does it tell us about art? The answer lies in the fact that artists can use disfluency strategically to express negative meaning, such as disorder, struggle, or meaninglessness. The final part combines the fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure with the sociology of taste by Pierre Bourdieu and presents a new account of culturally shared taste that explains how individuals within a culture or social class develop similar tastes and feel pleasure towards the same artistic objects.

Keywords:   aesthetics, pleasure, perception, perceptual fluency, art, culture

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .