This article outlines the roles of art theory and empirical psychology in understanding a work of art in its experience. Art theory sets the criteria of what the experience should be, and psychologists examine whether the predicted experience matches the observed experience of the recipient. An important issue is the role of knowledge in artistic evaluation, with resulting demand characteristics and concerns for self-presentation. With the help of recently developed implicit measures, both behavioral and biological, researchers are able to distinguish between explicitly reported knowledge and genuinely felt experience. The author presents examples of how art theory and empirical psychology might interact and how psychology can be used to examine a work's artistic value.

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