In Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, the material world is understood to contain access points to the transcendent. An icon may move the awestruck believer to emotional engagement and reflection on moral and religious themes. Personality dispositions potentiating the experience of being moved in religious aesthetic contexts have not been thoroughly studied. The present article describes the development and testing of a cross-sectional study into potential belief and personality-related predictors of being moved by sacred art in a lab environment evocative of a holy site. Ninety (90) Christians in Canada and Greece completed personality measures and viewed and rated thematically matched Latin and Byzantine icons. Findings suggest impacts of attachment, imaginativeness, and traditional vs. mystical dispositions in resonance with sacred art, and point to a secure, mystically oriented perceiver. Those who tended towards structured religious lives also presented with a personality profile favouring logical problem-solving. The paradigm applied the social psychological tradition of an evocative lab situation and use of psychometric tests to pressing questions in aesthetics and transpersonal psychology. This study offers a replicable methodology, inviting further empirical inquiry into the experiential texture of being moved and predictive relationships among individual differences at play in moving encounters.
Lang, Jacob; Stamatopoulou, Despina; and Cupchik, Gerald C., "The Role of Personality In Moving Encounters with Sacred Art" (2024). International Journal of Transpersonal Studies Advance Publication Archive. 88.