Effects are comparable to those of going to actual art galleries or even being in nature.
Visits to art galleries and museums can have a significant impact on a person’s emotions, stress levels, and well-being. But does this also apply to seeing art in a digital environment? This question was examined in recent research conducted by psychologists Matthew Pelowski and MacKenzie Trupp. They came to the following conclusion: A quick three-minute visit to an online cultural or art exhibition also has significant positive effects on subjective well-being.
Arts and cultural organizations swiftly switched from fixed buildings to the Internet during the first COVID-19 outbreak. Digital museums and online art galleries attracted public attention for the first time. Two things happened as a result of this. First, people all over the world could access works of art and other cultural items from their couches. Second, a far larger audience than previously now had the chance to experience art.
Numerous studies have been conducted by researchers over the last ten years that show how art can improve one’s health and sense of well-being. It was unclear, however, whether these impacts extended to the Internet.
In a recent study, MacKenzie Trupp, Ph.D., Matthew Pelowski of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and their colleagues from the Department of Psychology requested participants to attend art exhibits that were available through cellphones, tablets, and laptops. To gauge how much seeing the art would be helpful, psychological state and well-being were assessed before and after the visit.
Results showed that even very brief viewings can have significant effects, leading to lower negative mood, anxiety, and loneliness, as well as higher subjective well-being. These results were comparable to other interventions such as nature experiences and visits to physical art galleries. Upon further investigation, the personal subjective experiences of individuals became an important aspect to consider. The research team discovered that the more meaningful or beautiful people found the art to be and the more positive feelings they had while viewing it, the greater the benefit.
These results demonstrate that brief online art viewing can improve and support well-being. In addition, this study emphasizes art interventions – a recommendation that can be implemented on-site or made specific to individual viewers. This opens new avenues for further research and applications in spaces such as waiting rooms, hospitals, and rural areas where access to art is limited.
Reference: “Can a Brief Interaction With Online, Digital Art Improve Wellbeing? A Comparative Study of the Impact of Online Art and Culture Presentations on Mood, State-Anxiety, Subjective Wellbeing, and Loneliness” by MacKenzie D. Trupp, Giacomo Bignardi, Kirren Chana, Eva Specker and Matthew Pelowski, 30 June 2022, Frontiers in Psychology.