Research Topic

Environment, Art, and Museums: The Aesthetic Experience in Different Contexts

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About this Research Topic

An aesthetic experience may be defined as an individual's interaction with, or reaction to, aesthetically relevant objects and the surrounding environment.

Most psychological perspectives dealing with the aesthetic experience argue that this results from the coordination of different mental ...

An aesthetic experience may be defined as an individual's interaction with, or reaction to, aesthetically relevant objects and the surrounding environment.

Most psychological perspectives dealing with the aesthetic experience argue that this results from the coordination of different mental processes, such as perception, attention, memory, imagination, thought processing, and emotion. These processes involve both physiological and neurological responses.

Aesthetic experiences may occur while contemplating artworks in museums or in galleries as well as in other contexts such as natural and built environments.
Gazing at a landscape, walking in a park, meeting people in a square, and walking into a building that is architecturally appealing, are all examples of natural and built environments triggering perception of beauty, pleasure, attraction, and interest, among other aesthetic reactions.

Research on aesthetic experiences has a long history, and in recent decades, this field has experienced a tremendous growth as regards the number of empirical studies applied.

One of the areas that need to be addressed in an extensive fashion regards the influence of the context, both natural and built environments, on individuals’ aesthetic experiences.

Here, we refer to context according to three broad categories:

• Context as natural environments:
People show a basic tendency to associate the natural environment with positive evaluations. According to an evolutionary explanation known as the biophilia hypothesis, human beings who have evolved in natural environments, developed an innate tendency to positively respond to nature, as a consequence of an adaptation process.

• Context as built environments:
Urban environments, architecture, and buildings that have been systematically designed for both function and aesthetics can affect people's behaviors and social relationships.

• Environments for aesthetic experiences:
Museums can be considered as built environments. Some museums have been designed to represent a piece of art themselves. Numerous built environments are there for the purpose of being conceived as works of art, aesthetic objects to be appreciated.

Design includes specific elements of museums, from the halls to the artworks, the arrangement of art in an exhibition to the paths that visitors follow and the way that objects are displayed. These design elements can also influence visitors' enjoyment of the art collection.

This Research Topic aims to collect manuscripts addressing the following themes:

- Natural environment, landscapes and aesthetic
- Built environment, urban settings and aesthetic
- Parks and garden as designed spaces
- Environmental preferences
- Explicit and implicit evaluations of environmental aesthetic characteristics
- Museum as a built architecture
- Art experience in museums
- Museum’s interior, exhibitions, and visitors
- Art in the environment: land art, installations, and performances
- Objects, industrial design and aesthetic
- Art and wellbeing in specifically built environments such as hospitals, schools, etc.
- Environment and music perception
- Ambient music, auditory stimulation and well being

We encourage scholars from different disciplines, such as (but not limited to) psychology, sociology, neuroscience, architecture, urban planning, and geography, to submit empirical studies on behavioral, observational and other types of research as well as theoretical reflections.


Keywords: Natural and built environment, environmental preferences, architecture, art museums, aesthetic experience


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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