The Hevner Adjective List

It is inconceivable that anyone would contest the statement that research in experimental aesthetics has been greatly aided by the advent of the Hevner adjective list.’ 2 While originally intended for work in music it has been borrowed for research in other sensory areas.3 Its 67 words, which are arranged in eight clusters, describe a variety of moods. The moodal quale expressed by the adjectives within any one cluster has been assumed to be almost identical. Hence, it has become customary to describe musical phrases, objects of art, or other items of aesthetic interest in terms of the list’s eight clusters rather than its 67 adjectives.

Since these adjective clusters have received so much attention it seemed to the writer important to put them through certain tests, primarily to learn whether or not the members of any given cluster were describing the roughly similar moods Hevner had intended. A check was also planned on the idea that the clusters formed a sort of clock dial or circle with the mood described by the adjectives of cluster 2 most similar to moods characterized by clusters 1 and 3, that described by 5 most like those represented by 4 and 6, etc.

hevner adjective circle.png