Haiku and Humor: The E-V-E' Theory of Aesthetic Experience

 by Kevin Burns, 2014

 

In recent research, I developed and demonstrated a mathematical model of aesthetic experience. According to this model, dubbed EVE', aesthetics arise from psychological processes of expectation (E), violation (V), and explanation (E').

EVE' has been used to predict aesthetics and produce artworks in verbal as well as visual media. Several scientific articles explain EVE' and report on the results of experiments that test the theory against human judgments of aesthetics.

 

Verbal Arts

 

In the realm of verbal arts, EVE' has been used to analyze the aesthetics of haiku and other forms of verse. Two short summaries of this work are provided below, along with links to scientific manuscripts containing more details.

Computing the Creativeness of Amusing Advertisements: A Bayesian Model of Burma-Shave's Muse, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis, and Manufacturing, 2015, 29, 109-128. This paper is a technical exposition of EVE', including mathematical derivations and experimental validation. The validation collects human judgments using a survey of 20 Burma-Shave jingles, in order to test EVE's predictions about how aesthetics depend on factors of surprise and meaning.

EVE's Energy in Aesthetic Experience: A Bayesian Basis for Haiku Humor, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, 2012, 6, 77-87. This paper is also technical, focusing on the mathematical derivation of EVE's equations. The paper provides a detailed demonstration of how EVE' applies to humor in haiku form, and presents 20 poems that were written using an EVE'-informed procedure.

 

Visual Arts

 

In the realm of visual arts, EVE' has been used to analyze the aesthetics of abstract artworks. A non-technical summary of this research is provided elsewhere on this website as: A Study of Aesthetics Using Abstract Artworks.

A scientific manuscript documenting the same study is in press at Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, and available in pre-print here as: Entropy and Optimality in Abstract Art: An Empirical Test of Visual Aesthetics.

The original article introducing EVE', also in the realm of visual arts, is available as: Atoms of EVE': A Bayesian Basis for Aesthetic Analysis of Style in Sketching, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis, and Manufacturing, 2006, 20, 185-199. 

 

 

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