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  A computational model of aesthetic value

Brielmann, A., & Dayan, P. (2022). A computational model of aesthetic value. Psychological Review, Epub ahead. doi:10.1037/rev0000337.

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Brielmann, AA1, Author           
Dayan, P1, Author           
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1Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_3017468              

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 Abstract: People invest precious time and resources on experiences such as watching movies or listening to music. Yet, we still have a poor understanding of how such sensed experiences gain aesthetic value. We propose a model of aesthetic value that integrates existing theories with literature on conventional primary and secondary rewards such as food and money. We assume that the states of observers’ sensory and cognitive systems adapt to process stimuli effectively in both the present and the future. These system states collectively comprise a probabilistic generative model of stimuli in the environment. Two interlinked components generate value: immediate sensory reward and the change in expected future reward. An immediate sensory reward is taken as the fluency with which a stimulus is processed, quantified by the likelihood of that stimulus given an observer’s state. The change in expected future reward is taken as the change in fluency with which likely future stimuli will be processed. It is quantified by the change in the divergence between the observer’s system state and the distribution of stimuli that the observer expects to see over the long term. Simulations show that a simple version of the model can account for empirical data on the effects of exposure, complexity, and symmetry on aesthetic value judgments. Taken together, our model melds processing fluency theories (immediate reward) and learning theories (change in expected future reward). Its application offers insight as to how the interplay of immediate processing fluency and learning gives rise to aesthetic value judgments.

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 Dates: 2022-07
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1037/rev0000337
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Title: Psychological Review
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Washington, etc. : American Psychological Association (PsycARTICLES)
Pages: - Volume / Issue: Epub ahead Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0033-295X
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925436473