Aesthetic development in children, adolescents and young adults

Teresa Almeida Rocha, Francisco Peixoto, Saúl Neves Jesus


This paper focuses on aesthetic development in children, adolescents and young adults at a theoretical and empirical level. The most relevant theories in the area of aesthetic development are mentioned. The main goal of the study was to test Parsons’ theory, in an empirical and precise way, characterizing how aesthetic appreciation is developed. In terms of principal methodological assumptions there are two theoretical positions in current research into aesthetic development, those of Housen and Parsons. Parsons’ approach has been proven to be more effective when adapted to younger age groups (children). The empirical research undertaken in this paper uses his interview to understand the level of aesthetic development of 100 participants, divided into 5 age groups (from 4-5 years old, to 18-20 years old). Results of these individual interviews offer direct support to the idea that aesthetic develops naturally and is positively correlated to age. In addition to the findings on aesthetic development, data backs up the progressive descentration that underlies Parsons’ assertion that aesthetic stages depend “on our increasing ability to take on the points of view of others”.


Aesthetic development, Aesthetic experience, Arts, Developmental psychology, Painting.

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