Creator: Weigand, Rosalie; Jacobsen, Thomas
Contributor: Weigand, Rosalie; Jacobsen, Thomas
Title: Primary data on the study “Beauty and the busy mind”
Year of Publication: 2021
Citation: Weigand, R., & Jacobsen, T. (2021). Primary data on the study “Beauty and the busy mind” [Translated Title] (Version 1.0.0) [Data and Documentation]. Trier: Center for Research Data in Psychology: PsychData of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology ZPID. https://doi.org/10.5160/psychdata.wdre20pr28
Aesthetic experiences may be distinguished from other experiences by a cognitive mode of aesthetic processing that involves a concentration of working memory resources on the aesthetic stimulus. Because the capacity of working memory is limited, a trade-off between available resources and the aesthetic experience is obvious. To investigate the extent to which the intensity of the aesthetic experience is impaired when working memory capacity is stretched, an experience sampling study was conducted. Over a two-week period, 115 students reported on their aesthetic experiences. To survey working memory capacity, participants answered questions about their current cognitive load and any tasks they were currently performing. They were also asked if they had an aesthetic experience and how much they savored it. The data were analyzed using multilevel models. Higher working memory load was associated with fewer aesthetic experiences as well as reduced enjoyment of those experiences. Overall, other activities that require working memory capacity appear to conflict with aesthetic experiences in everyday life.
1. Working memory load reduces the probability of occurrence of an aesthetic experience.
2. Working memory load reduces the enjoyment of an aesthetic experience.
3. Certain features of a concurrent task reduce the enjoyment of an aesthetic experience.
Research Design: Fully standardised survey instrument; repeated measurements
A detailed description of the methods can be found in the associated publication.
We conducted an experience sampling study over a two-week period. Participants were asked to answer a short questionnaire via a smartphone app (“PIEL Survey”) 12 times a day during their individual waking hours. At each measurement time point, participants answered the question “Have you had an aesthetic experience since the last measurement time point?” on a binary yes/no scale. If they answered yes to the question, they were asked to name the content of the aesthetic experience by choosing from 8 categories. Regardless of whether they had an aesthetic experience, they were asked how they had spent the time since the last measurement time point (at home, outside, alone, in company). The variable “aesthetic enjoyment” was measured using three items (Schall, M., Goetz, T., Martiny, S. E., & Hall, N. C. (2017). It ain’t over ’til it’s over: The effect of task completion on the savoring of success. Motivation and Emotion, 41(1), 38-50.) was assessed on a 7-point Likert scale. Working memory capacity was answered using the item “I was engaged in a different task when I had the aesthetic experience” on a yes-no scale. If this item was answered in the affirmative, participants were asked about three task characteristics (challenging task, interesting task, important task, concentration on task) on a 5-point Likert scale. In addition, participants were asked about mean workload since the last measurement time point on a 7-point Likert scale.
Data Collection Method:
Experience sampling study using a smartphone app (“PIEL Survey”). Data transfer after completion of the study as an Excel file from the participant to the test management.
Population: Students of psychology and educational sciences at Helmut Schmidt University
Survey Time Period: Experience-Sampling Method
Sample: Incidental Sample
45 % female participants
55 % male participants
Age Distribution: 20-34 years
Spatial Coverage (Country/Region/City): Germany
Subject Recruitment: Subjects were made aware of the study using a university email distribution list. They participated in exchange for partial fulfillment of course requirements. In order to increase the data response rate, a telephone call was made after one week in which the subjects were asked about the progress to date and possible problems.
Sample Size: 205 individuals