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Emotional Education through the Arts: Perception of Wellbeing

Stefano Mastandrea


The present research deals with the topic of emotional education through the arts. The purpose is to verify if the vision of art images – divided into three different picture categories, with disturbing, neutral, and serene content – can influence the participants’ emotional state depending on the content expressed by the pictures. Nine images, three for each category (Disturbing, Neutral, and Serene) were presented to a sample of participants. The hypothesis was that the vision of disturbing images may cause an increase in anxiety; neutral images would not cause significant changes, while the use of serene images would produce a reduction in anxiety. To verify the hypothesis, the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was administered before and after the vision of the pictures. Findings showed that the state anxiety score of the participants who evaluate the disturbing and neutral pictures did not show a significant change before and after the vision of the pictures; on the contrary, for the group who evaluated the serene images, the values of pre- and post-anxiety score decreased significantly. A possible explanation of the asymmetry of the findings is that probably it is not enough to see disturbing images to increase the anxiety level. An art context heightens, in general, positive response also toward images with negative content. Interesting is that serene pictures decrease anxiety significantly: the simple vision of pictures with this content can produce a perception of wellbeing.


Aesthetic experience; Anxiety; Emotional education; Vision of art images; Well-being.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ecps-2019-020-mast

Copyright (©) 2019 Stefano Mastandrea – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Associate Executive Editor & Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi 

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