Art preference and believability

Does expertise make a difference in one's music preferences? Using data gathered in a 2001 study, Cognitive Daily offers some preliminary thoughts in part one of a multi-post answer. Part two is here.

The key conclusion:

Expertise, it appears, isn't simply the ability to appreciate more complex forms -- it involves a whole set of aesthetic judgments, for which complexity may or may not be relevant.

As it happens, Ken Taylor at Philosophy Talk tackles these issues in the introduction to a new podcast with Peter Kivy. Taylor wonders if "emotion is, as it were, 'in the music' or merely in our reaction to the music," and concludes:

The reductive metaphysician in me would like it to be the case that we could eventually say, in non-emotive terms, just what it is about the intrinsic musical character of a piece of music that makes it correct to say that the music is sad. But the music lover in me, wonders if we would really understand music better if we really could do such a thing.

Here is my take: emotion doesn't follow discovery, nor is it simply a by-product of experience. In key ways the ability to feel something toward the object of our thinking makes its appreciation possible. Liberty and biology go hand in hand.