Aesthetic perception and its minimal content: a naturalistic perspective

2788I’m very pleased to announce a new publication on Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of Frontiers in Psychology entitled: Aesthetic perception and its minimal content: a naturalistic perspective with my colleague Arnellos Argyris.

Aesthetic perception is one of the most interesting topics for philosophers and scientists who investigate how it influences our interactions with objects and states of affairs. Over the last few years, several studies have attempted to determine “how aesthetics is represented in an object,” and how a specific feature of an object could evoke the respective feelings during perception. Despite the vast number of approaches and models, we believe that these explanations do not resolve the problem concerning the conditions under which aesthetic perception occurs, and what constitutes the content of these perceptions. Adopting a naturalistic perspective, we here view aesthetic perception as a normative process that enables agents to enhance their interactions with physical and socio-cultural environments. Considering perception as an anticipatory and preparatory process of detection and evaluation of indications of potential interactions (what we call ‘interactive affordances’), we argue that the minimal content of aesthetic perception is an emotionally valued indication of interaction potentiality. Aesthetic perception allows an agent to normatively anticipate interaction potentialities, thus increasing sense making and reducing the uncertainty of interaction. This conception of aesthetic perception is compatible with contemporary evidence from neuroscience, experimental aesthetics, and interaction design. The proposed model overcomes several problems of transcendental, art-centered, and objective aesthetics as it offers an alternative to the idea of aesthetic objects that carry inherent values by explaining ‘the aesthetic’ as emergent in perception within a context of uncertain interaction.

Keywords: aesthetic perception, Emotions, anticipation, perceptual content, interactive affordance, agency, normativity

Citation: Xenakis I and Arnellos A (2014). Aesthetic perception and its minimal content: a naturalistic perspective. Front. Psychol. 5:1038. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01038

Edited by: Bill Mace, Trinity College, Connecticut, USA
Reviewed by: Giorgio Marchetti, Mind-consciousness-language, Italy
                           Bill Mace, Trinity College, Connecticut, USA
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