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Aesthetic Experience and the Ability to Integrate Beauty: The Mediating Effect of Spirituality.

BACKGROUND: The ability to integrate beauty (AIB) is the ability to inner transformation including thinking about oneself, perceived phenomena, or the world through exposure to an aesthetic object (or phenomenon). Previous research indicates that the AIB is positively related to aesthetic experience. Still, it is unclear whether spirituality can mediate the relationship between the two variables. Spirituality is understood as an experience of transcendence that relates to the unseen and is "larger than human". The aim of the study was to analyze the relationship between emotional and cognitive experiences related to the reception of art (as the most representative form of beauty) and the ability to connect with spirituality and aesthetic experiences.

METHODS: The online survey included a sample of N = 195 adults (74% female) between the ages of 18 and 54. The Spirituality Scale (SD-36), the Aesthetic Experience Questionnaire (AEQ) and the Ability to Integrate Beauty Scale (AIBS) were used to test hypotheses.

RESULTS: The analysis revealed a statistically significant, moderate relationship between the ability to integrate beauty and both the total aesthetic experience score and the spirituality scale score. The results support the hypothesis that there is a relationship between aesthetic experience in art and spirituality. The study also confirmed the mediating effect of spirituality on the relationship between aesthetic experience and aesthetic intelligence.

CONCLUSION: Individuals with a higher level of spiritual development tend to have a greater ability to integrate beauty and have more intense aesthetic experiences, which in turn may increase their aesthetic intelligence. The results suggest that a deepened spirituality contributes to a greater ability to integrate beauty.

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