Is There a General “Art Fatigue” Effect? A Cross-Paradigm, Cross-Cultural Study of Repeated Art Viewing in the Laboratory

Jan Mikuni, Eva Specker, Matthew Pelowski, Helmut Leder, Hideaki Kawabata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A rather well-accepted finding from museum studies is that repeated art viewing may be tied to reduced attention toward art as individuals see more and more stimuli. This attention decrease from repeated art viewing appears to be a basic consequence of interaction with media. Considering lab-based studies in empirical and psychological aesthetics typically present multiple stimuli to their participants, such an effect would also be key in laboratory, since it can be a strong confounding in many published laboratory work. However, the potential of repeated art viewing has neglected in lab. Further, previous museum studies have mostly measured viewing time as a proxy of attention and not examined appraisals, which is a main component of many lab designs. In this paper, we transfer this well-demonstrated phenomenon from museum to the lab and test the impact of repeated art viewing on viewing time and appraisals of beauty in 3 lab-based studies. Study 1 updated one of the only existing lab studies, which had found decreased attention. Study 2 introduced a new procedure to solve a methodological limitation of past research, removing participants’ ability to shorten the duration of an experiment by truncating viewing time. Study 3 offered one more replication, considering modulating impact of within-study breaks. Both Study 2 and 3 tested Eastern and Western participants, offering an opportunity for replications and consideration of possible interpersonal and intercultural differences. All studies showed that viewing times and appraisals decreased over exposures, regardless of cultural background, potentially reflecting a universal reaction in art appreciation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-360
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Art appreciation
  • Cross-culture
  • Repeated art viewing
  • Viewing time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Applied Psychology


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