Rawlings, D., & Bastian, B. (2002). Painting preferences and personality, with particular reference to Gray’s behavioral inhibition and behavioral approach systems. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 20 (2), 177-193.

Abstract: Gray’s (1991) neurobiological systems-the behavioral approach system (BAS)and behavioral inhibition system (BIS)have been operationalized by Carver and White (1994) in their BIS/BAS Questionnaire. In the present study, 129 undergraduate students (mean age, 20.1)completed the BIS/BAS Questionnaire, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised (EPQ-R),and Zuckerman’s Impulsive Sensation Seeking Scale. They also rated 72 paintings previously divided into two stylistic (Abstract and Traditional) and five content (Erotic, Pleasant, Neutral, Violent, Unpleasant) categories. As hypothesized, scores on the BIS were negatively associated with liking for Unpleasant and Violent paintings; scores on the BAS predicted liking for Pleasant and Neutral paintings, though this was due almost entirely to the BAS Reward Responsiveness sub-scale. Sensation Seeking, EPQ-R Psychoticism, and the BAS Fun-Seeking sub-scale predicted liking for Abstract stimuli, and disliking for Unpleasant and Violent paintings. Our results provide evidence that Gray’s constructs can be usefully applied to the area of aesthetic preference. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)