Authors: Diego García Viana y David Jiménez López
On February 28 of 2019, the results of the activity carried out by the third and fourth students of the Degree in Psychology of the Complutense University of Madrid and held on the occasion of the last European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 took place.
In several posters, the students have reflected what is included in the Psychology of Heritage, focusing on aspects such as human behaviour with cultural assets, affective-emotional links with objects or heritage education processes. In this sense they have focused on its application in the case of museums.
They also wanted to know what a psychologist does in a museum. For more than 100 years, psychologists have been an essential part of understanding the behaviour of visitors to a museum, contributing to the design of exhibitions to make them more accessible, communicative, democratic and inclusive, all understood from the context of constant innovation which these cultural institutions face.
At the same time, the students wanted to understand how heritage influences the formation of people’s identity, favouring family cohesion, positive communication, improvement of learning processes and exchange between cultures. The physical characteristics of the exhibition influence the experience provided by the museum, the space also provides a dynamic interaction with the exposed, generating in turn different types of experiences based on the previous experiences of each individual. The museum is also a place that favours the social inclusion of those with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.
Last but not least, the relationship of heritage with health and the quality of life of people is also one of the themes that has been reflected in these posters. Psychology, within the study of cultural experiences, understands as necessary to take into account the health benefits provided by participation and interaction with cultural heritage. In order to understand it, students of Psychology have collected studies that confirm that visiting museums or exhibits improves the well-being of people, unlike those who do not.