The inverted-U hypothesis has much empirical support in the field of experimental aesthetics. This hypothesis predicts that moderately complex art objects should be preferred over very simple or very complex art objects. Although it is tacitly believed that this hypothesis applies to experts, the literature does not contain any convincing studies that demonstrate this as fact. The present study addresses this issue. Professional jazz and bluegrass musicians rated the complexity of and their liking for short, but complete, jazz and bluegrass improvisations. Complexity and liking were operationalized by subjects� judgments on seven-point Likert-like scales. Regressing liking onto complexity did not reveal any evidence for an inverted-U relation for experts. Moreover, no relationship between liking and complexity was found for the jazz musicians; a negative relation was found for the bluegrass musicians, but only when listening to the bluegrass improvisations. Furthermore, by comparing the expert data with a reanalysis of nonexpert data collected in a previous, but identical study, we propose as a first approximation that musical expertise dissolves the relationship between liking and complexity.
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