Teilhard in America : the 1960s, the counterculture, and Vatican II

Susan K. Sack


Most studies examining emotion have used either visual or auditory stimuli to evoke specific emotional responses. Only recently have examinations of emotion used audiovisual displays in their presentation. Furthermore, most studies do not consider participant expertise, such as that of artists or musicians, which has been shown to affect memory and face recognition. A logical assumption based on this previous research is that the degree of emotion evoked by a stimulus would also be affected by expertise. Consequently, the present study examined the effect of expertise on emotional responses to auditory (music), visual (art), and audiovisual displays. Artists, musicians, and non- experts experienced emotion-eliciting (fear, happy, and sad) visual and auditory stimuli, presented alone and together, and rated each stimulus on two characteristics of emotion: valence (whether the emotion is positive or negative) and arousal (whether the intensity of the emotion is weak or strong). Analyses for each emotion in both unimodal and bimodal presentations tested four hypotheses related to the effect of participant expertise and stimulus type on emotional responses. In general, results showed a significant influence of carry-over effects: the effect of stimulus presentation order and the effect of repetition. Since these effects were found to influence ratings of emotion significantly across dimension, stimulus type, and participant expertise, it was necessary to examine support for the hypotheses with regard to the presentation order of the stimuli However, there was still some evidence to suggest that participant expertise and stimulus type influence responses of arousal and valence to emotional stimuli. In summary, emotion is a psychological phenomenon that has been difficult to study systematically, and research in the field of empirical aesthetics has seen many contradictory findings for expertise, which may be due to several theoretical and experimental shortcomings. Addressing some of these issues in future studies will increase the reliability and validity of the results to be applied to real-world situations involving emotion, aesthetics, and participant expertise.