Experimental Aesthetics and Liking for Music
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The study of aesthetics, involving the creation and appreciation of art and beauty, has been approached in two distinct ways. ‘Speculative aesthetics’ is concerned with high-level, abstract questions such as the meaning and nature of art, and is dealt with in the disciplines of philosophy, art history, and art criticism. ‘Empirical aesthetics’, on the other hand, is the scientific study of the nature of appreciation. Adherents of these two approaches may well differ about the suitability of the scientific approach, about what constitutes a work of art and is therefore worthy of investigation, and even about what constitutes an ‘aesthetic response’. This chapter focuses explicitly on the second approach: the central concern is to review the wide range of empirical studies that have been conducted from various theoretical points of view on the aesthetic response to music.
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