Bullshit Makes the Art Grow Profounder: Evidence for False Meaning Transfer Across Domains
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The purpose of this thesis was to explore the decision making underlying the perception of meaning in abstract art. In particular, I explore if features adjacent to the content of the art itself predominantly drive the perception of depth and meaning in abstract art, especially by drawing a connection between the modes of communication present in the art world “International Art English” and the concept of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit. Across three studies, 500 participants completed tasks that assessed the degree to which Pseudo-Profound Bullshit can enhance the perceived profoundness of abstract art and examined mechanisms that underlie this enhancement. It was found that pairing abstract art pieces with randomly generated pseudo-profound titles enhanced the perception of profoundness in those art pieces (Exp 1), that being under a verbal working memory load enhanced the perception of profoundness of abstract art separately (Exp 2), but did not interact with the presence of a title, nor did it independently affect bullshit receptivity generally (Exp 3). This ultimately contributes to our understanding of the cognition of art, and decision making, especially as it relates to an application of models of cognitive miserliness to the evaluation of abstract art.
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Martin Turpin (2018). Bullshit Makes the Art Grow Profounder: Evidence for False Meaning Transfer Across Domains. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13746