Anger, disgust, and the negative aesthetic emotions: Expanding an appraisal model of aesthetic experience.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Among Andres Serrano's many controversial photographs—images of corpses in a morgue, portraits of Ku Klux Klan members, images of blood and semen pressed between glass—Piss Christ stands out. Before a 1997 exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia, the Catholic Church sued unsuccessfully to prevent the showing of Serrano's photographs. During the exhibition, Piss Christ was defaced twice in 2 days: ineffectively by a man with his bare hands, and effectively by a teenager with a hammer (?Protestor Damages Serrano Photo,? 1997). In an era where ignorance about the arts is high, negative emotions like anger, disgust, and contempt are common responses to provocative and challenging works. So what do psychological theories of aesthetic emotions have to say about negative responses to art? How can we understand the emotions that lead people to reject, censor, and deface works of art? The study of aesthetic emotions is central to the psychology of the art (Cupchik, 2006), yet essentially no research has been done on negative responses to art. The present research thus applies a recent appraisal model of aesthetic emotions (Silvia, 2005b) to anger and disgust in response to visual art. This model can explain when negative aesthetic emotions occur and predict subtle differences between similar emotions.

Additional Information

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1(2), 100-106
Language: English
Date: 2007
Aesthetic Emotions, Psychology, Art

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