Like what you see: Generalization of social learning determines art appreciation

Yannick Boddez*, Mathilde Descheemaeker, Gaëtan Mertens, Astrid Truyts, Sander Van de Cruys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examine whether a stimulus generalization framework can provide insight in how experience shapes evaluative responses to artworks. Participants received positive information about one artwork and negative information about another artwork. Afterwards, we tested their evaluative responses not only to these artworks but also to similar artworks, which allowed us to assess generalization. Results showed that the artwork that was paired with positive information and the artwork that was similar to it were evaluated more positively than the other artworks. These findings confirm that theories that aim to explain art appreciation could benefit from taking learning and its generalization into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalActa Psychologica
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Aesthetic preference
  • Art
  • Evaluative learning
  • Evaluative priming
  • Generalization


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