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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

When considering the cognitive processes involved in aesthetic experiences, one approach is to focus on the different components in the cognitive system. In this chapter, research on the roles of dual-mode processing, cognitive effort and control, and memory in the aesthetic experience are reviewed. Automatic and controlled processes, respectively, appear to be engaged at different times when viewing art, with one’s goal (e.g., forming a quick impression of art or closely evaluating an artwork) determining how those processes are utilized. Shifts in cognitive control affect how art is processed, as well as attention and memory load demands at the time art is being viewed. Memory comes into play when considering how knowledge about art and expertise is used. Overall, the growing literature on cognitive processing of art and related brain imaging research is producing numerous exciting findings of interest both to the researcher and to persons working in the arts.

Keywords: Dual-mode processing, memory, cognitive control, automatic and controlled processes

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