Who Likes Surrealist Motion Pictures?

Mostly sensation seekers, those higher on openness to experience and with greater ambiguity tolerance according to a recent study published in Personality and Individual Differences.

Surrealism started in the early 1920s. Surrealism was expressed in pictures, music, writings and later also in films.

surrealist film in particular is characterised by the use of incongruous and ambiguous imagery and situations, and could be considered a par excellence example of non-conventional art.

A total of 240 participants from Vienna, Austria were included in this study. They looked and rated ten film clips. They also completed the Big Five personality questionnaire, a scale for sensation seeking and ambiguity tolerance. The Big Five personality traits include: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Openness to Experience, Emotional Stability, and Extraversion. Sensation seeking is a personality trait in which the person seeks varied, complex, novel and intense experiences. Usually they are willing to take high risks for the sake of such experiences. Ambiguity tolerance is the amount of ambiguity tolerated. Low in this trait means that you don’t like ambiguous situations, high in this trait means that you like ambiguity, those stimuli are perceived as interesting.

These results aren’t surprising and are obviously supported by previous work about personality and surrealist art.

Swami, V., Stieger, S., Pietschnig, J., & Voracek, M. (2010). The disinterested play of thought: Individual differences and preference for surrealist motion pictures Personality and Individual Differences DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.013