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Meeting Abstract

Intense Beauty Requires High Pleasure

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Brielmann, A., & Pelli, D. (2019). Intense Beauty Requires High Pleasure. Perception, 48(Supplement 2), 14. doi:10.1177/0301006619863862.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-6B4F-A
At the beginning of psychology, Fechner (1876) claimed thatbeauty is immediate pleasure, and that an object’s pleasuredetermines its value. In our earlier work, we found that highpleasure always results in intense beauty. Here, we focus onthe complementary question: Is high pleasure necessary forintense beauty? If so, the inability to experience pleasure(anhedonia) should prevent the experience of beauty. Weasked 757 participants to rate how intensely they felt beautyfrom each image. We used 900 OASIS images along withtheir available valence (pleasure vs. displeasure) and arousalratings on 1 to 7 scales. We then obtained self-reports ofanhedonia (TEPS). Beauty ratings were closely related topleasure (r¼.75). Only images with an average pleasurerating above 4 achieved beauty averages that at least occa-sionally (>10%) exceeded the median beauty. Furthermore,for normally beautiful images, the beauty ratings were correlated with anhedonia (r.3). Looking at averagebeauty ratings per participant, the most anhedonic partic-ipants’ averages never exceeded the overall median, while,for the remaining participants, 50% of averages did. Theseresults indicate that beauty requires high pleasure.