Art is good for the soul – we have known that for a long time, but a research group made up of psychologists from the University of Vienna has now proven it scientifically. Visitors to the Wiener Detachment were asked to view Klimt's Beethoven Frieze while listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which inspired the artwork. Another group did the same thing without listening to music. During the experiment, it was found that visitors who listened to music while looking at the paintings enjoyed the art more and their stress level decreased.
“If stimulation comes through two of our senses at the same time – and, moreover, in an aesthetic and artistic form – it greatly enhances the aesthetic experience. This reduces fear and anxiety.” – explains Helmut Leder, Head of Research. The research also found that spending just 14.3 minutes in the museum – with or without music – reduced visitors' stress levels and fears and put them in a better mood.
Leder also stressed that it does not matter whether it is real art or kitsch in terms of positive impact. Because art can only benefit us if we feel that we have received something important to us – and this is what distinguishes it from kitsch.
Anna Fickett, a doctoral student at the University of Vienna, conducted her research under the supervision of Helmut Lehder and published it in the APA journal PsycArticles. Anyone who wishes can, thanks to the museum, experience the effect for themselves: it provides visitors with headphones through which Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is played.