The Aesthetic Responsiveness Assessment (AReA): A Screening Tool to Assess Individual Differences in Responsiveness to Art in English and German

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  • Wolff Schlotz
  • Sebastian Wallot
  • Diana Omigie
  • Michael D. Masucci
  • Sonja C. Hoelzmann
  • Edward A. Vessel

People differ in how they respond to artworks. Measuring such individual differences is helpful for explaining response variability and selecting particularly responsive subsamples. On the basis of a sample of items indicating relevant behavior and experience, we exploratively constructed the Aesthetic Responsiveness Assessment (AReA), a screening tool for the assessment of individual differences in responsiveness to art in English and German. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses suggested three first-order factors labeled aesthetic appreciation, intense aesthetic experience, and creative behavior, and a second-order factor aesthetic responsiveness. Aesthetic responsiveness was assessed in N = 781 participants from the United States and Germany, and measurement invariance analysis demonstrated full metric and partial scalar invariance across language versions. AReA scale scores yielded good reliability estimates. Validation studies confirmed expected associations between AReA scale scores and measures of related constructs, as well as continuously and retrospectively recorded responses to music, visual art, and poetry. In summary, the AReA is a promising, psychometrically evaluated instrument to assess aesthetic responsiveness built on a mixture of exploratory and confirmatory construction strategies. It can be used as a screening tool both in English and German speaking samples.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)682-696
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 11.2021

    Research areas

  • Psychology - Aesthetic experience, Aesthetic responsiveness, Creative behavior, Screening scale, validity