In two experiments, we examined the manner in which people sequence and chunk their exposure to artistic and nonartistic stimuli differing in pleasingness. A new forced-choice paradigm with fixed time allotments for five choice alternatives was used in both studies. In Experiment 1, subjects made repeated choices among four types of music and an aversive tone, whereas in Experiment 2, the choices were made among Hvc types of slides ranging from nude females to assault victims. In both studies, subjects had to be exposed to 2 min each of the five alternatives, but the order and chunking, in 15-sec intervals, was up to them. For both auditory and visual stimuli, subjects chose the aversive ones early in the session and reserved the most pleasing stimuli for the end. Runs of aversive stimuli were interspersed with exposure to the moderately pleasing ones. For music, but not visual stimuli, the most pleasing type was chosen in the longest runs. The results were interpreted in terms of global and local aesthetic- choice strategies people use to optimize mood.

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