The Psychological Aesthetics of Narrative Forms

  • Christy Moynihan
  • Albert Mehrabian


The study of aesthetic experience may be approached from a number of viewpoints. A work of art is composed of a myriad of elements, any one of which may be examined with respect to its impact on aesthetic preference. A painting may be analyzed in terms of color, form, or subject matter: a story or novel in terms of style, plot, theme, or point of view; a song in terms of melody, rhythm, or harmonal structure, and so forth. The multiplicity of elements in a work of art, as well as the diversity among different art forms, would seem to make it difficult to identify general principles underlying all aesthetic experience. Berlyne (1971, 1974), however, has constructed a general theory of psychological aesthetics which conceptualizes all aesthetic experience, whether in response to visual art, literature, or music, as a unitary phenomenon. This theory is based not on the kinds of elements in a work, but on the degree of interdependence among these elements.


Information Rate Aesthetic Experience Uncertainty Level Narrative Form Aesthetic Preference 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christy Moynihan
    • 1
  • Albert Mehrabian
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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