Abstract

This research examines measurability, statistical interrelationships and association with test IQ, and cultural robustness of several artistic judgment dimensions. Symmetry, Simplicity, Uniformity, and Expressiveness dimensions had been previously validated in a comprehensive study of professional artists and studied in Chicago with children of diverse cultural background. The fifth dimension, the Visual Aesthetic Sensitivity Test (VAST), rests on much weaker validity foundations but was included in this research because of wide use among empirical arts researchers. Cross-cultural comparison of these dimensions has never been reported. The study sample is a culturally homogeneous group of native Lisbon schoolchildren (modal age = 10 years, N = 48). Results showed adequate psychometric reliability for all dimensions (>.80) except VAST (.57). Means were statistically indistinguishable between Portuguese and American children on Simplicity and Uniformity, which support their aptitude foundations. Portuguese children showed significantly higher preference for asymmetry (Symmetry dimension), which indicates consistency with professional artists. However, Portuguese children showed much lower preference for Expressiveness than did Chicago children, which is the opposite direction of artistic expectations. With exception of VAST, these dimensions show considerable promise for cross-cultural and developmental research.

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