This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Aesthetic Experience of a Synesthetic Dress




Rolling, Virginia

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Consumer and Design Sciences


Presently, there is a cultural phenomenon whereby technology-enabled dresses are displayed for aesthetic appraisal in museum contexts. This study was an exploratory investigation of museum visitors’ aesthetic experiences from beholding a synesthetic dress (i.e., a dress that replicates the experience of synesthesia when colors are heard and sounds are seen through the use of colored LED lights and digital music) using three distinct data elicitation approaches. As a qualitative study applying a grounded theory approach, the I-SKE model was used in conjunction with obtaining physiological measures, observational data and interview data. This study investigated how 44 millennial participants aesthetically processed a synesthetic dress during four different dress viewings (i.e., dress-only, dress with digital music, dress with colored LED lights, and dress with synchronized digital music and colored LED lights). Results support that apparel with music and colored LED lights create a much richer aesthetic experience due to participants reporting this dress to be the most interesting, the most impressed by this dress, and having an increased EDA arousal response. This research is applicable to inform such fields as apparel, performing arts, and museum research.