Émond, Anne-Marie (2002) The effects of viewing historical art and contemporary art on cognitive dissonance and consonance as verbalized by adult visitors in a fine arts museum. PhD thesis, Concordia University.
This study explored the impact of two very different art forms on the production of cognitive dissonance and consonance by museum visitors. It involved an investigation of the verbalizations expressed by adult participants in reaction to the moments of conflict and enjoyment that they experienced while viewing historical and contemporary art. The research methodology adopted for this study centred on the Thinking Aloud approach, which was used to collect visitor responses to artworks. The twelve subjects of this research were frequent art museum visitors, that is, people who visited museums at least twice a year. Their comments were tape-recorded as they walked through specified galleries. They were accompanied by the researcher, who acted as an observer. The transcripts of their verbalizations constituted the raw data used in the analysis. Weltzl-Fairchild's typologies of cognitive dissonance and consonance were the instruments used to analyse the verbalized musings of the subjects. Once their discourse was categorized into dissonant and consonant moments, it was further scrutinized in order to identify visitors' specific meaning. This analysis revealed that the visitors produced more consonance than dissonance in response to both historical art and contemporary art. These findings indicate that the art form has an impact on the production of cognitive dissonance and consonance. They suggest, for instance, that visitors to the historical galleries, unlike visitors to the contemporary galleries, expect to use the criterion of realism to judge an artwork. Visitor responses to historical art were mostly associated with the notion of Beauty; in the case of contemporary art, however, they had to do with the concept of communication. Another noticeable difference between both art forms was linked to museum organization. Since visitor responses to historical art focussed on the historical context in which the works were created, visitors expected to see this reflected in the museum context. As for visitors to the contemporary art galleries, their attention was drawn to the actual context of the museum itself. This study suggests how art museum educators can empower visitors as they accompany them on their museum journey, and how the resulting overall museum experience can be a more positive one, whether that journey is characterized by moments of conflict or harmony.
|Divisions:||Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art Education|
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD)|
|Pagination:||x, 324 leaves : col. ill. ; 29 cm.|
|Degree Name:||Theses (Ph.D.)|
|Thesis Supervisor(s):||Weltzl-Fairchild, Andrea|
|Deposited By:||Concordia University Libraries|
|Deposited On:||27 Aug 2009 17:22|
|Last Modified:||08 Dec 2010 15:22|
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