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The Psychological Record

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 325–330 | Cite as

A Ludic Appreciation of Mechner’s Aesthetics

  • Peter R. Killeen
Commentary

Abstract

We can imagine many of our emotions in our family pet: hunger, fear, anger, lust, and even the bonding that we call love. But not the appreciation of a sunset, sonnet, musical passage, or good joke. Mechner takes on the gamut of such aesthetic appreciations, removed from the urgency of the primal ones, and gives us the first thorough attempt at a behavioral explication. Because he has been so thorough and apt, my commentary can add little value to his thesis, only subtract from it. Therefore, rather than critique, I exemplify, and then simplify. By reducing his voluminous report to two lines: a theorem and an equation, I thereby encapsulate aesthetics in a sweet pill of spire. Aesthetic appreciation of this note may require a willing suspension of disbelief.

Keywords

Aesthetics Information Mechner Spire 

References

  1. Dawkins, R. (2000). Unweaving the rainbow: Science, delusion and the appetite for wonder. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
  2. Koestler, A. (1966). The act of creation. London, UK: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  3. Mechner, F. (2017). A behavioral and biological analysis of aesthetics: Implications for research and applications. The Psychological Record, 68.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-017-0228-1.
  4. Neologism. Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neologism. Accessed 23 Aug. 2018.
  5. Norwich, K. W. (1993). Information, sensation, and perception. New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter R. Killeen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.PrescottUSA

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