The Recognizability of Authenticity

Abstract

The goals of this research were to (1) determine if there is agreement both amongst viewers, and between viewers and the performer, about the extent to which performances are authentic, and (2) ascertain whether or not performers and/or viewers can distinguish between authenticity and skill. An authentic performance is one that is natural or genuine, while an inauthentic performance feels faked, forced, or imitative. Study participants were asked to rate the authenticity and skill level of a series of videotaped performances by dancers and stand-up comedians. Performers also rated their own performances. Authenticity ratings amongst viewers were significantly positively correlated. Ratings between viewers and performers were not significant but all positive. A higher correlation between ratings of both authenticity and skill of performances for viewers than for performers suggests that viewers make less of a distinction between authenticity and skill than performers. The relationship between authenticity and creativity is discussed.


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