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Beauty and the beholder: the role of visual sensitivity in visual preference.

Spehar B, Wong S, van de Klundert S, Lui J, Clifford CW, Taylor RP - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: We measure sensitivity to simple visual patterns (sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency and random textures with varying scaling exponent) and find that they are highly correlated with visual preferences exhibited by the same observers.Although we do not attempt to offer a comprehensive neural model of aesthetic experience, we demonstrate a strong relationship between visual sensitivity and preference for simple visual patterns.Broadly speaking, our results support assertions that there is a close relationship between aesthetic experience and the sensory coding of natural stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, UNSW Australia Sydney, NSW, Australia.

ABSTRACT
For centuries, the essence of aesthetic experience has remained one of the most intriguing mysteries for philosophers, artists, art historians and scientists alike. Recently, views emphasizing the link between aesthetics, perception and brain function have become increasingly prevalent (Ramachandran and Hirstein, 1999; Zeki, 1999; Livingstone, 2002; Ishizu and Zeki, 2013). The link between art and the fractal-like structure of natural images has also been highlighted (Spehar et al., 2003; Graham and Field, 2007; Graham and Redies, 2010). Motivated by these claims and our previous findings that humans display a consistent preference across various images with fractal-like statistics, here we explore the possibility that observers' preference for visual patterns might be related to their sensitivity for such patterns. We measure sensitivity to simple visual patterns (sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency and random textures with varying scaling exponent) and find that they are highly correlated with visual preferences exhibited by the same observers. Although we do not attempt to offer a comprehensive neural model of aesthetic experience, we demonstrate a strong relationship between visual sensitivity and preference for simple visual patterns. Broadly speaking, our results support assertions that there is a close relationship between aesthetic experience and the sensory coding of natural stimuli.

No MeSH data available.


Example of an experimental trial: Three quadrants have filtered noise patterns with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.25 and one quadrant (top left) has a filtered noise pattern with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.5.
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Figure 5: Example of an experimental trial: Three quadrants have filtered noise patterns with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.25 and one quadrant (top left) has a filtered noise pattern with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.5.

Mentions: Each individual trial began with a fixation point at the centre of the screen for 500 ms. The fixation screen was followed by a trial display in which the four images were shown for a period of 500 ms. Each image was presented in a circular aperture with a blurred (raised cosine) edge as illustrated in Figure 5. In each trial, three of the images had the baseline amplitude spectrum slope which remained the same throughout a block. The remaining, odd-one-out, image had a different amplitude spectrum slope, determined according to the participants’ previous responses, and it appaeard randomly with equal probability in each of the four quadrants. All of the stimuli were rotated relative to one another instead of repeating the same pattern with the same orientation. This was done to encourage subjects to focus on the overall appearance of the stimulus rather than to adopt an image matching strategy on local regions of the stimulus. The duration of the response interval was unlimited.


Beauty and the beholder: the role of visual sensitivity in visual preference.

Spehar B, Wong S, van de Klundert S, Lui J, Clifford CW, Taylor RP - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Example of an experimental trial: Three quadrants have filtered noise patterns with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.25 and one quadrant (top left) has a filtered noise pattern with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.5.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4585069&req=5

Figure 5: Example of an experimental trial: Three quadrants have filtered noise patterns with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.25 and one quadrant (top left) has a filtered noise pattern with an amplitude spectrum slope of −1.5.
Mentions: Each individual trial began with a fixation point at the centre of the screen for 500 ms. The fixation screen was followed by a trial display in which the four images were shown for a period of 500 ms. Each image was presented in a circular aperture with a blurred (raised cosine) edge as illustrated in Figure 5. In each trial, three of the images had the baseline amplitude spectrum slope which remained the same throughout a block. The remaining, odd-one-out, image had a different amplitude spectrum slope, determined according to the participants’ previous responses, and it appaeard randomly with equal probability in each of the four quadrants. All of the stimuli were rotated relative to one another instead of repeating the same pattern with the same orientation. This was done to encourage subjects to focus on the overall appearance of the stimulus rather than to adopt an image matching strategy on local regions of the stimulus. The duration of the response interval was unlimited.

Bottom Line: We measure sensitivity to simple visual patterns (sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency and random textures with varying scaling exponent) and find that they are highly correlated with visual preferences exhibited by the same observers.Although we do not attempt to offer a comprehensive neural model of aesthetic experience, we demonstrate a strong relationship between visual sensitivity and preference for simple visual patterns.Broadly speaking, our results support assertions that there is a close relationship between aesthetic experience and the sensory coding of natural stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, UNSW Australia Sydney, NSW, Australia.

ABSTRACT
For centuries, the essence of aesthetic experience has remained one of the most intriguing mysteries for philosophers, artists, art historians and scientists alike. Recently, views emphasizing the link between aesthetics, perception and brain function have become increasingly prevalent (Ramachandran and Hirstein, 1999; Zeki, 1999; Livingstone, 2002; Ishizu and Zeki, 2013). The link between art and the fractal-like structure of natural images has also been highlighted (Spehar et al., 2003; Graham and Field, 2007; Graham and Redies, 2010). Motivated by these claims and our previous findings that humans display a consistent preference across various images with fractal-like statistics, here we explore the possibility that observers' preference for visual patterns might be related to their sensitivity for such patterns. We measure sensitivity to simple visual patterns (sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency and random textures with varying scaling exponent) and find that they are highly correlated with visual preferences exhibited by the same observers. Although we do not attempt to offer a comprehensive neural model of aesthetic experience, we demonstrate a strong relationship between visual sensitivity and preference for simple visual patterns. Broadly speaking, our results support assertions that there is a close relationship between aesthetic experience and the sensory coding of natural stimuli.

No MeSH data available.