Title

Just How Stable Are Stable Aesthetic Features? Symmetry, Complexity, and the Jaws of Massive Familiarization

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2009

Abstract

Using both group- and individual-level analyses, we explored the complex and dynamic effects of basic visual features on aesthetic judgment. Specifically, the mediating influence of familiarization on the combined effects of complexity and symmetry on aesthetic judgment was examined. Experiment 1 showed that symmetry and complexity are indeed powerful determinants of aesthetic judgment. Experiment 2 demonstrated that massive familiarization generated contrast effects for complexity: participants familiarized to simple stimuli subsequently judged complex stimuli more beautiful and participants familiarized to complex stimuli subsequently judged simple stimuli more beautiful. In contrast, moderate familiarization in Experiment 3 did not elicit the above effects. Group-level analyses were augmented with judgment analyses of individual response patterns resulting in a more comprehensive assessment of aesthetic judgment.

DOI

10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.01.001

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