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date: 26 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

It is now widely agreed that, alongside stimulus and situational factors, person-centered factors can provide a fuller understanding of aesthetic preferences and experiences. Such person-centered factors are wide-ranging, but in this chapter we present an overview of the influence of personality on aesthetic preferences. In particular, we focus on Eysenck’s early studies on the K factor (which distinguishes between preferences for complex versus simple art forms) and more recent studies indicating that the Big Five personality facet of openness to experience is a core component of what has been described as an “artistic personality,” at least in terms of the visual arts. However, we highlight limiting issues with this research, such as the lack of focus on potentially mediating variables. Later in this chapter, we review the evidence of associations between the Big Five personality facets and nonvisual artistic preferences, i.e., related to musical preferences, reading preferences, and film and television preferences. To conclude, we assess the major challenges facing differential psychologists studying aesthetics and present some suggestions for future research directions.

Keywords: Personality, Big Five, K factor, artistic personality, visual arts

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