Men and women judge art differently

Men and women judge art differently

Men and women show stark differences in how they evaluate art, according to a new study.

Researchers from Michigan State University and colleagues found that when judging art men seem to focus more on the artist's background and authenticity, while women pay more attention to the art itself.

The study, which appears in the journal Psychology & Marketing, is the first to investigate how important an artist's 'brand' is to average consumers when they appraise art. They found that personal brand is very important.

"All consumers in the study, but especially men, evaluated art with a strong emphasis on how motivated and passionate the artist was," said Stephanie Mangus, assistant professor in MSU's Broad College of Business.

"So if you're an artist or if you're managing an artist, developing that human brand - getting the message across that you're authentic - becomes essential," she said.

Mangus and her fellow researchers had 518 people look at two unfamiliar paintings with made-up biographies of the artist.

Some participants read a bio that characterised the artist as authentic - in other words, a lifelong painter who creates unique work.

Others read a bio that characterised the artist as an ordinary painter who took up the craft only recently.

When the artist was characterised as authentic, participants had a much more favourable impression of both the artist and the artwork.

Participants indicated they were more willing to buy that artist's painting and to pay a higher price for it. Men were much more likely to use the artist's brand as a deciding factor when evaluating art.

Women also took the artist's authenticity into account, but a bigger factor for them was the artwork itself.

Women are more willing to go through a complicated process of actually evaluating the artwork, whereas men may say, 'This guy's a great artist, so I'll buy his art', according to Mangus.

The findings likely extend to other product industries in which a creator is highly involved and visible. These include the clothing, shoe, jewelry and restaurant and food industries, researchers said.

"While designers and chefs oftentimes operate in the background, this research suggests that more emphatically communicating their passion and commitment to their craft could significantly benefit that brand's image and sales," the study said.

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