AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

CALL FOR COMMENTS – NEGATIVE EMOTIONS IN ART RECEPTION

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The journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences is looking for commentary on an article that they have accepted: “The DISTANCE-EMBRACING Model of the Enjoyment of Negative Emotions in Art Reception”.
Note that, as they say:
5. BUT … it’s not all about articles previously published, or position in the field. It’s not necessary to have published in the area, and it’s not necessary to have a current academic appointment.We make efforts to include proposals coming both from established figures and total newcomers. An engaging idea elicited by the article, an illuminating application of the target article concept to an allied field, or a truly clever riposte is often all that’s needed.”
Title: The DISTANCE-EMBRACING Model of the Enjoyment of Negative Emotions in Art Reception

Authors: Winfried Menninghaus, Valentin Wagner, Julian Hanich, Eugen Wassiliwizky, Thomas Jacobsen, and Stefan Koelsch

Deadline for Commentary Proposals: Thursday, March 16, 2017

About Commentary Proposals: When a target article or recent book has been accepted for BBS commentary, the editorial office sends out the call for commentary proposals to thousands of people. Commentary proposals help the BBS editors craft a well-balanced commentary invitation list.

Please keep in mind that we are not asking you to submit a commentary — but rather, a short proposal in order to be considered as an invited author after the proposal deadline.

If this target article interests you as a possible subject for commentary, please download the full pre-print to see if you would like to propose a commentary.

Abstract:

Why are negative emotions so central in art reception far beyond tragedy? Revisiting classical aesthetics in light of recent psychological research, we present a novel model to explain this much-discussed (apparent) paradox. We argue that negative emotions are an important resource for the arts in general rather than a special license for exceptional art forms only. The underlying rationale is that negative emotions have been shown to be particularly powerful in securing attention, intense emotional involvement, and high memorability—and hence precisely in what artworks strive for. Two groups of processing mechanisms are identified that conjointly adopt the particular powers of negative emotions for art’s purposes. The first group consists of psychological distancing mechanisms that are activated along with the cognitive schemata of art, representation, and fiction. These schemata imply personal safety and control over continuing or discontinuing exposure to artworks, thereby preventing negative emotions from becoming outright incompatible with expectations of enjoyment. This distancing sets the stage for a second group of processing components that allow art recipients to positively embrace the experiencing of negative emotions, thereby rendering art reception more intense, more interesting, more emotionally moving, more profound, and occasionally even more beautiful. These components include compositional interplays of positive and negative emotions, the effects of aesthetic virtues of using the media of (re)presentation (musical sound, words/language, color, shapes) on emotion perception, and meaning-making efforts. Moreover, our DISTANCING–EMBRACING model proposes that concomitant mixed emotions often help to integrate negative emotions into altogether pleasurable trajectories.

Interested? Full information about how to submit a proposal here.

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