Social desirability, need for uniqueness, and the illusion of explanatory depth in perceptions of the fine arts



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This study explored how writing about the arts may lead to the illusion of explanatory depth and affect aesthetic appreciation levels. The study also explored the association between socially desirable responding, need for uniqueness and attitudes and perceptions toward the fine arts with how important people believe the arts to be. I hypothesized that levels of aesthetic appreciation of art would decrease due to the writing task. Further, it was hypothesized that social desirability and need for uniqueness would correlate positively with aesthetic appreciation of art as well as how important individuals report the fine arts to be to them personally would correlate with how important they believe the fine arts are seen in society. Aesthetic appreciation of the arts from pre-test (M=3.21, SD=.8) to post-test (M=3.3, SD=.85) actually increased; t(201) = -2.31, p = 0.022. Levels of social desirability did not correlate with aesthetic appreciation of art; r(395) = -.012, p = .813. Need for uniqueness and aesthetic appreciation of art correlated positively; r(396) = .548, p < .001. Lastly personal perceived importance of the arts correlated positively with perceived societal importance of the arts; r(396) = .557, p < .001. These results suggest that engagement in a writing task about arts increased awareness and aesthetic appreciation of art. These findings have implications in marketing and considerations for future studies.



Fine art, Social desirability, Perceptions, Need for uniqueness, Illusion of explanatory depth