How the Mere-Exposure-Effect affects our perception of aesthetics

In conversations with designer and artist friends, I’ve been talking a lot lately about how everything looks the same right now. The same colors and shapes everywhere. Sure, if something is “in” right now, it’s clear that social media is full of it. People like to share things that have already been shared by others. After all, if many people share something, it must be good, right? But why is that?

The Mere-Exposure-Effect is a psychological principle that states that the more often we come into contact with something, the more we like it. This principle has a huge impact on our perception of aesthetics and happens completely unconsciously.

In other words, people often like things simply because they are exposed to them again and again. This effect has been shown to apply to a wide variety of objects and concepts, including faces, words, and music.

Is it possible to “escape” the Mere-Exposure-Effect?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the Mere-Exposure-Effect is a psychological phenomenon that occurs entirely subconsciously. However, some experts believe that it is possible to escape the Mere-Exposure Effect by consciously avoiding exposure to stimuli, like mindless scrolling trough Social Media.

I want my aesthetic perception to be affected as little as possible. That’s why I gave up Instagram and co. some time ago. Since then, I’ve been more consciously selecting my sources from which I draw inspiration.

What about you?

What’s your situation? What sources do you use to get inspired? Do you feel your aesthetics has been changed by social media? Feel free to leave me a comment below this article!


About Exploring Aesthetics:

Sarah loves asking questions and exploring the things she interacts with on a daily basis. Exploring aesthetics is her column which discusses art, design and aesthetics to explore, inspire and to question the status quo.

  1. I completely agree with the idea that we are all influenced by the mere exposure effect, whether we realize it or not. I think it’s important to be aware of this phenomenon so that we can make more conscious decisions about what we expose ourselves to.

  2. Howdy! I’m at work surfing around your blog! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  3. I agree with the idea that social media can have a negative effect on our aesthetics. I often find myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest, and seeing the same colors and designs over and over again. This can definitely make it harder to be original and come up with new ideas.

    I think it’s important to be intentional about the sources of inspiration we choose. For me, that means seeking out artists and designers whose work I admire, and following them on social media or subscribing to their newsletters. That way, I’m exposing myself to a variety of different aesthetics and styles, and I’m more likely to be inspired by something truly unique.

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Aesence is a creative studio and digital design magazine with a high curatorial approach. Founded by Sarah Dorweiler, a creative mind and entrepreneur from Berlin, her goal is to capture the feeling of harmony, balance and inner peace in her curatorial work and photography.