Open peer commentary on Bullot & Reber, to appear in BBS

The journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences has just accepted the paper The Artful Mind Meets Art History: Toward a Psycho-Historical Framework for the Science of Art Appreciation, by Nicolas J. Bullot and Rolf Reber, for open peer commentary. The article was already reviewed, and the editors are now accepting commentary proposals. If you are interested in writing a commentary, you can submit a short proposal (see instructions below). However, please do not submit a full commentary article unless you are formally invited, that is, after you submit a commentary proposal.

Target Article: The Artful Mind Meets Art History: Toward a Psycho-Historical Framework for the Science of Art Appreciation

Authors: Nicolas J. Bullot and Rolf Reber

Deadline for Commentary Proposals: March 21, 2012

Abstract: Research seeking a scientific foundation for the theory of art appreciation has raised controversies at the intersection of the social and cognitive sciences. Though equally relevant to a scientific inquiry into art appreciation, psychological and historical approaches to art developed independently and lack a common core of theoretical principles. Historicists argue that psychological and brain sciences ignore the fact that artworks are artifacts produced and appreciated in the context of unique historical situations and artistic intentions. After revealing flaws in the psychological approach, we introduce a psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation. This framework demonstrates that a science of art appreciation must investigate how appreciators process causal and historical information to classify and explain their psychological responses to art. Expanding on research about the cognition of artifacts, we identify three modes of appreciation: basic exposure to an artwork, the artistic design stance, and artistic understanding. The artistic design stance, a requisite for artistic understanding, is an attitude whereby appreciators develop their sensitivity to art-historical contexts by means of inquiries into the making, authorship, and functions of artworks. We defend and illustrate the psycho-historical framework with an analysis of existing studies on art appreciation in empirical aesthetics. Finally, we argue that the fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure can be amended to meet the requirements of the framework. We conclude that scientists can tackle fundamental questions about the nature and appreciation of art within the psycho-historical framework.

Keywords: Art appreciation; causal reasoning; cognitive tracking; cognition of artifacts; design stance; essentialism; function; history of art; mindreading; processing fluency; psycho-historical framework

Download Target Article Preprint:

Commentary proposals must include the following items:

1. What aspect of the target article you would anticipate commenting on.

2. The relevant expertise you would bring to bear on the target article.

Please include names and affiliations of your co-authors, if applicable, in the text of your commentary proposal.

How to submit a commentary proposal:

If you would like to nominate yourself for potential commentary invitation, you must submit a Commentary Proposal via our BBS Editorial Manager site:

1. Log-in as Author. Log-in to your BBS Editorial Manager account as an author:

If you do not have an account, please visit the site and register. You can also submit a request for missing username and password information if you have an existing account.

2. Submit New Manuscript. Within your author main menu please select Submit New Manuscript.

3. Select Article Type. Choose the article type of your manuscript from the pull-down menu. Commentary Proposal article types are temporarily created for each accepted target article or book. Only select the Commentary Proposal article type that you wish to submit a proposal on. For example: “Commentary Proposal (Bullot)”

4. Enter Title. Please title your proposal submission by indicating the relevant first author name of the target article or book. For example: “Commentary Proposal on Bullot”

5. Add Co-Authors. If you are proposing to write a commentary with any co-authors, the system will not allow you to enter their information here. Instead, include their names in the commentary proposal document you upload. These potential co-authors need not contribute to the Commentary Proposal itself.

6. Attach Files. The only required submission Item is your Commentary Proposal in MSWord or RTF format. In the Description field please add the first author name of the target article or book. For example: “Commentary Proposal on Bullot”

7. Approve Your Submission. Editorial Manager will process your Commentary Proposal submission and will create a PDF for your approval. On the “Submissions Waiting for Author’s Approval” page, you can view your PDF, edit, approve, or remove the submission. (You might have to wait several minutes for the blue “Action” menu to appear, allowing you to approve. Once you have Approved the Submission, the PDF will be sent to the editorial office. It is very important that you check and approve your Commentary Proposal manuscript as described. Otherwise, your submission cannot be processed.

8. Editorial Office Decision. At the conclusion of the Commentary Proposal period, the editors will review all the submitted Commentary Proposals. An undetermined number of Commentary Proposals will be approved and those author names will be added to the final commentary invitation list. At that time you will be notified of the decision. If you are formally invited to submit a commentary, you will be asked to confirm your intention to submit by the commentary deadline.

Note: Before the commentary invitations are sent, the copy-edited and revised target article will be posted for invitees.

Please do not write a commentary unless you have received an official invitation!

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