Art in Hospitals Project: Psychophysiology experiment

Sarune Baceviciute, Luis Emilio Bruni, Paolo Burelli, Andreas Wulff-Jensen

Research output: Working paperResearch

2 Citations (Scopus)
162 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The idea of this pilot experiment within the context of the “Art in Hospitals” project was to explore the fruitfulness and future perspectives for integrating psychophysiological methods to the ethnographic approach so far implemented in the project. As a pilot study it serves to open the doors to experimental avenues that can support the ethnographic investigation. Therefore in order to form a basis for applications of these methodologies in future studies in the field, this pilot was concentrated in one of the initial premises of the project, which intended to challenge current recommendations for art in hospitals. Most of these guidelines favor figurative over abstract art, based on ideas leaning to the emotional congruence theory, which would claim that abstract art leads to ambiguity and therefore it could augment the current emotional base-line of an already stressed patient. The early ethnographic studies of the “Art in Hospitals” project challenged this perspective by investigating the positive or negative effects of “lower-level” specific features (e.g.: bright colors vs. darker, contrast, predominant shapes) independent of whether they were present in abstract or figurative art, which as such could not be said to have universal positive or negative effects respectively. In this sense it was retained necessary to assess whether significant differences can be detected in cognitive processes when processing figurative or abstract art that has been manifestly reported as pleasant or unpleasant by the subject. The experiment measures the absolute power of different EEG frequency bands (i.e. delta, theta, alpha, beta & gamma) in two experimental conditions: i) abstract paintings and ii) figurative paintings. Eye-tracking and self-report data were gathered simultaneously. Each condition included 20 paintings (total of 40), which were pre-selected and assigned to each condition following a rigorous procedure involving an external contributor.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherJournal series: Arkitektur & Design (A&D Files)
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

This report is part of the "Arts in Hospital project" final report (funded by the Obel Family Fund).

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