giving the art a greater weight in psychology

Bam! My paper on RizbA and contemporary visual art is published. Funded by the Open Science Fellows Program by Wikimedia Germany, Stifterverband and Volkswagen Foundation, it’s fully Open Access and provides Open Data and Open Methodology. Go on and get it, read it and use the material for your own study.

various oil paint tubes


Most studies in empirical art psychology and creativity research focus on the psychological correlates of art. Few go beyond treating artworks as categorical data (e.g. abstract vs. representational) and consider artworks in detail. This is due in part to the lack of reliable quantitative measurements. The rating instrument for two-dimensional pictorial works (RizbA) makes a difference to current research designs.

The current study validates the questionnaire on a representative sample of contemporary visual art, consisting of 318 images depicting works by artists from different cultural areas dated to the 21st century. In a randomized test-retest design, the pictorial material was rated by 506 (T1) and 238 (T2) art experts using RizbA. Statistical quality criteria, such as item difficulty, capacity of differentiation, test-retest reliability, and intraclass correlation were calculated.

Principal component analysis (PCA) and indices of factor similarity were computed. The overall test’s capacity for differentiation yields partial eta-squared of .31 (T1) and .40 (T2). Test-retest reliability is .86. PCA reveals an eight-factor solution, which is largely consistent across both measurement points. Tucker’s coefficient of congruence ranges between |0.71| and |1.00|. Intraclass correlation coefficients are .86 (T1) and .73 (T2).

This study indicates generalizability of the questionnaire to contemporary artworks. Although a conclusion on the factors’ structure cannot be drawn yet, results are very promising. As the first reliable quantitative tool for formal picture analysis, RizbA allows more detailed examination of visual art and its psychological correlates. This broadens research methodology by giving art greater weight in art psychology and creativity research.


The peer-reviewed scientific journal Creativity. Theories – Research – Application is undertaking problems of human creativity – its recognition, correlates, determinants, possibilities for its support and development – analyzed from the point of view of education, psychology, sociology, aesthetics, etc. Also, it’s an Open Access Journal without no publication fees.


Science is always better done in a team, therefore

  • I gratefully acknowledge Thomas Gengenbach for providing theoretical and practical support regarding IT, implementation of the online survey, and data structuring.
  • Many thanks to Ina Blümel for being a great mentor in conducting this study as part of the Open Science Fellows Program.
  • Thanks also to Rebecca Kahn for the feedback on the manuscript.
  • Thanks to Hannah Santana, who aquired the more than 500 experts who participated in the study.
  • And of course, thanks to all experts who participated in the online study on contemporary art.


This study was funded by the Open Science Fellows Program by Wikimedia Germany, Stifterverband and Volkswagen Foundation.


Schoch, K., & Ostermann, T. (2020). Giving the art greater weight in art psychology: RizbA, a quantitative questionnaire for formal picture analysis. Creativity. Theories – Research – Application 7(2), 373-410.

In addition, under the DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/P84XW the following materials are available via Open Science Framework. They are under a CC-BY 4.0 license and can be used for further research.

  • list of artworks used including metadata
  • SoSci Survey structure (project structure, PHP code for randomization and drawing, values, variables)
  • syntax for data structuring (Excel VBA macros) and statistical analysis (SPSS)

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