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Huge Gender Differences Discovered in Pricing Art

Update Date: Oct 09, 2014 05:47 PM EDT

Men and women are very different when it comes to judging art, according to a new study.

Research from Michigan State University reveals that men tend to focus more on the artist's background and authenticity, whereas women pay more attention to the art piece.

Researchers said that the latest study is the first to look at how important an artist's "brand" is to average consumers when they judge art.

Unsurprisingly, personal brand is extremely important in the $64 billion art market.

"All consumers in the study, but especially men, evaluated art with a strong emphasis on how motivated and passionate the artist was," Stephanie Mangus, assistant professor in MSU's Broad College of Business., said in a news release. "So if you're an artist or if you're managing an artist, developing that human brand - getting the message across that you're authentic - becomes essential."

The latest study involved 518 people who were asked to view two unfamiliar paintings with made-up biographies of the artist. Participants were randomly assigned to read a biography that characterized the artist as authentic (i.e. lifelong painter who creates unique pieces), or one that characterized the artist as an ordinary painter who took up the craft only recently.

While all participants favored the artist and the artwork, the study revealed that men were significantly more likely to use the artist's brand as a deciding factor and women to pay more attention to the artwork itself.

"Women are more willing to go through a complicated process of actually evaluating the artwork," Mangus said, "whereas men may say, 'This guy's a great artist, so I'll buy his art.'"

Researchers said the findings could provide insight for other businesses in which creators or designers are highly involved and visible.  

"While designers and chefs oftentimes operate in the background, this research suggests that more emphatically communicating their passion and commitment to their craft could significantly benefit that brand's image and sales," researchers wrote in the study.

The findings are published in the journal Psychology & Marketing.

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