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Ability tests

Perception of Affective Content in Art Test

The first attempt to construct an ability test in Croatia was made in the lowest branch of the Mayer and Salovey model - the perception and appraisal of emotion. The construction process of the Perception of Affective Content in Art Test (PACAT) had two phases and was troublesome and time-consuming.

During the initial phase, a painter rated 60 pastel color paintings according to the moods and emotions they conveyed. The size of the paintings included A4 and a somewhat smaller format. For each of the paintings the painter estimated the intensity of 151 affective states on a 5-point scale. The list of affective states was constructed by choosing suitable items from existing questionnaires found in the literature about emotions. The paintings were presented and rated in a random order. Factor analysis based on the painter’s ratings of the 151 affective states resulted in three factors: Negative Affection, Positive Affection, and Activation. Factor loadings and test-retest reliabilities (retest was done after a month) enabled a reduction from 60 to 34 paintings and from 151 to 20 descriptors. The 34 paintings retained were those with the highest loadings on one of the three factors. The retention of descriptors was based on four criteria: (1) pleasant and unpleasant mood; (2) the ten most common moods appearing in the paintings according to the painter;

  • (3) the five most prominent moods according to the painter’s ratings; and
  • (4) three moods opposite to the moods rated by the painter. Twelve of the descriptors are common to all of the paintings and eight of the descriptors are unique to each painting. During the second phase of construction, 12 experts rated a reduced number of paintings and affective states descriptors. Three art therapists and nine art teachers, all female, comprised the expert group. The reliabilities of the expert group descriptor ratings were calculated by means of Cronbach’s alpha. These coefficients varied from .21 to .96 over the 34 retained paintings. Based on the reliability of the expert ratings, factor loadings, and painter-expert correlations, 12 final paintings were selected: four paintings with high loadings for Positive Affection, four for Negative Affection, and four for Activation.

PACAT has usually been used in combination with other ability tests as a measure of perception of emotion, when researchers or practitioners want to cover more branches from the Mayer and Salovey model (Babic Cikes, 2013; Busko & Babic Cikes, 2013; Grgic, Babic Cikes, & Rucevic, 2014).

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