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date: 27 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews how expertise impacts aesthetic experience and cognition. It first lays out some well-established methods and findings from the extensive research literature on expertise and expert performance and discusses how these relate to empirical aesthetics. Next, it describes general psychological mechanisms and models of aesthetic processing, emphasizing the potential role of expertise in modulating aesthetic cognition within such models. Since expertise is highly domain-specific, the chapter then proceeds sequentially through a range of aesthetic domains: visual art, design, architecture, photography, music, dance, writing, acting, and film. In each case, behavioral measures (self-report and performance indices) and neuroscientific findings are considered where available. When possible, the chapter discusses not only aesthetic response but also performance and creativity as aspects vital for understanding expertise and its effects in aesthetic domains. After reviewing the aforementioned domains individually, the concluding section attempts to integrate these points by highlighting consistent patterns of results and by briefly considering a few unresolved conceptual issues.

Keywords: Expertise, aesthetics, domain-specificity, performance, creativity

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