Do People Have a Thing for Bling? Examining Aesthetic Preferences for Shiny Objects

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 )
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Abstract: Researchers in the evolutionary aesthetics tradition have suggested that people prefer shiny objects because glossiness connotes water. We consider some methodological issues in past research and present an experiment that manipulated the glossiness of metal objects. Young adults (n?=?134) viewed silver coins that were either dull or in “brilliant uncirculated” condition as well as copper cylinders that were either rough and tarnished, polished with a brushed surface, or polished with a mirror finish. Ratings of attractiveness showed that people preferred the shiny over the tarnished coin and the glossy copper bar over the tarnished and brushed ones. These effects were not simply due to perceived quality or implied effort. The findings demonstrate that, after many potential confounds have been avoided or controlled for, people do seem to have a thing for bling.

Additional Information

Empirical Studies of the Arts, 36(1), 101-113
Language: English
Date: 2018
aesthetics, shininess, gloss, evolutionary aesthetics

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