Sexual Differences in the Emotional Evaluation of Works of Art in Old Adults.
Rosales Lagarde, Alejandra
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Background: Ratings of emotion in works of art including abstract ones have been found to be influenced by color, form and texture and follow consistent patterns among subjects. The International Affective Picture System (IAPS) is extensively used in cognitive neuroscience studies and allows the identification of emotions. In here, IAPS methodology was employed on art material, i.e., a set of photomontages of the artist Grete Stern. In Grete Stern works of art inspired by dreams, the detection of emotion, bizarreness and gender differences have not been explored by the use of the IAPS self-assessment manikins. Methods: 28 Old Females (OF) (68.41 ± 8.19) and 18 Old Males (OM) (68.12 ± 7.45). Groups of OM and OF subjects were not different in age, years of education, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale, Short Anxiety Screening Test and Daily Activities of Katz Scale in their Spanish versions, nor were demented as assessed by the MMSE and Katz scale. 10 photomontages were exhibited on a computer screen. A bizarreness-normal category was added to the traditional valence, arousal and dominance scales (ratings of 1, 2 and 3 indicated bizarreness and 6, 7, 8 or 9, normal, while 5 meant nothing of both). Considering emotions and bizarreness, the mean of each of 10 images was obtained for each variable and its frequencies were submitted to Pearson0s chi-square tests. Results: Probability level according to chi-squares rendered only arousal significant. OF showed more extreme evaluations and chose more excited and less neutral number of images than OM. Bizarreness was not significant between genders but exhibited a tendency in OM versus OF to follow a neutral response. Conclusions: The methodology of IAPS seems feasible to explore bizarreness and the emotional variables in art. OF rated Grete Stern works of art more extremely than OM, as a greater frequency for arousal and less neutral excitement in contrast to OM was found. The differences in arousal of old adults with this feminine material can be interpretable in terms of the usual response of males to show poorer sensitiveness in their emotions than females.