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
Trupp, M. D., Bignardi, G., Chana, K., Specker, E., & Pelowski, M.
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. Frontiers in Psychology, 13
: 782033. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.782033.
When experienced in-person, engagement with art has been associated—in a growing body of evidence—with positive outcomes in wellbeing and mental health. This represents an exciting new field for psychology, curation, and health interventions, suggesting a widely-accessible, cost-effective, and non-pharmaceutical means of regulating factors such as mood or anxiety. However, can similar impacts be found with online presentations? If so, this would open up positive outcomes to an even-wider population—a trend accelerating due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Despite its promise, this question, and the underlying mechanisms of art interventions and impacts, has largely not been explored. Participants (N = 84) were asked to engage with one of two online exhibitions from Google Arts and Culture (a Monet painting or a similarly-formatted display of Japanese culinary traditions). With just 1–2 min exposure, both improved negative mood, state-anxiety, loneliness, and wellbeing. Stepdown analysis suggested the changes can be explained primarily via negative mood, while improvements in mood correlated with aesthetic appraisals and cognitive-emotional experience of the exhibition. However, no difference was found between exhibitions. We discuss the findings in terms of applications and targets for future research.