Collative variables versus prototypicality
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Recent research on experimental aesthetics has been dominated by debate on the relative importance of two theories concerning arousal-mediating and cognitive variables respectively. The present article discusses two arguments which suggest that this debate may be potentially spurious and unnecessary. First, the apparent importance of either theory may be partly dependent on the stimuli employed. Second, it is impossible to distinguish between the two classes of variables, such that variations in arousal-mediating factors also reflect variations in cognitive factors. A discussion of the implications of these arguments suggests that it is possible to reconcile the two approaches, such that both can make a useful contribution to the understanding of aesthetic processes.