Art Affinity Index:
An Instrument to Assess the Relation to Art and the Knowledge of Art
Journal of Empirical Studies of the Arts, Vol. 33(2), 161–174, 2015
The interplay of knowledge and art perception has been investigated over the past decades in various disciplines such as art sociology and aesthetic education. We present a brief overview of methodological approaches that investigated the effect of knowledge and expertise on the perception and appreciation of art. We then describe in detail the construction of the empirically grounded Art Affinity Index (AAI), which was formulated using exploratory factor analysis of questionnaire data received from 288 visitors to a fine arts museum in Switzerland. Subsequent confirmatory factor analysis in 289 other visitors showed the reliability and stability of the two AAI factors: Art relation and Art knowledge. The AAI was found to possess satisfactory validity and correlated meaningfully with visitors’ age and gender. These psychometric properties suggest the AAI is a convenient measure of art affinity. It provides a useful instrument for researchers in art sociology, visitor studies, and empirical aesthetics.