It is generally accepted that most people are capable of having moving aesthetic experiences, with the caveat that the particular types of stimuli that are effective elicitors of positive aesthetic responses, and the intensity of aesthetic experiences may differ substantially from person to person.
However, there is a lack of empirical support for this belief. Additionally, for researchers that seek to study the nature of moving aesthetic experiences, it is critical to know whether a potential study participant is capable of having such experiences. To these ends, we are working on the development of a self-report scale to measure the degree to which an individual is prone to experience positive aesthetic responses to a variety of stimulus types.
Aesthetic Responsiveness and Engagement Assessment (AREA) is a short questionnaire that can be administered in a few minutes and identifies three major aspects of an individual's responsiveness to aesthetic experiences. It is available in its original English language version and a translation into German language. Ongoing work seeks to test measurement invariance across language versions in samples from the US and Germany, further investigate the scale’s psychometric properties, and refine it for use as both a screening tool for aesthetic experiments and also an experimental tool for quantifying the preponderance of multiple aspects of aesthetic responsiveness in the population at large.