Art for Healing: Experiencing Art Improves Emotion after a Negative Event

Author: Carly Schepacarter
Major: Psychology, Art
Approved: Fall 2019
Status: Completed

Existing research suggests that making art has benefits for mental health, but can other interactions with art still help people (Henderson et al., 2007)? This project endeavors to address the relationship that individuals have with art, and determine if varied interactions with art can improve one’s emotional state—especially for participants primed to recall a negative life experience. Participants in the first study were primed to recall negative memories prior to completing an art rating task, the Discrete Emotions Questionnaire (DEQ; Harmon-Jones et al., 2016), and an art experience questionnaire. The second study primed participants with the same negative writing task prior to their completion of either an art or non-art task. Ultimately, interacting with art evoked more positive emotions in both studies. The results of the research studies and a literature review were used to create works of art for a family services center in Salem, VA.

Schepacarter Distinction Project Final