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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.


Raw detection sensitivity (left) and visual preference for sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency for 29 participants.
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Figure 9: Raw detection sensitivity (left) and visual preference for sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency for 29 participants.

Mentions: Figure 9 depicts the average sine-wave detection sensitivity and visual preference data. The panel on the left shows the average inverse contrast detection thresholds as a function of spatial frequency with the characteristics of a typical contrast sensitivity function: an inverse U-shaped function with a peak in the intermediate range, in this case at 4c/deg. The panel on the right shows the average visual preference results for the stimuli in two experimental sequences and shows that the results were not influenced by the range effect or the tendency to rate the spatial frequencies in the middle of each sequence as the most preferred. Instead, the visual preference for the range of spatial frequencies present in both experimental sequences was equal regardless of the experimental sequence they belonged to. For the subsequent data analyses, the visual preference results from the two sequences were combined.


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)

Raw detection sensitivity (left) and visual preference for sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency for 29 participants.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 9: Raw detection sensitivity (left) and visual preference for sine-wave gratings varying in spatial frequency for 29 participants.
Mentions: Figure 9 depicts the average sine-wave detection sensitivity and visual preference data. The panel on the left shows the average inverse contrast detection thresholds as a function of spatial frequency with the characteristics of a typical contrast sensitivity function: an inverse U-shaped function with a peak in the intermediate range, in this case at 4c/deg. The panel on the right shows the average visual preference results for the stimuli in two experimental sequences and shows that the results were not influenced by the range effect or the tendency to rate the spatial frequencies in the middle of each sequence as the most preferred. Instead, the visual preference for the range of spatial frequencies present in both experimental sequences was equal regardless of the experimental sequence they belonged to. For the subsequent data analyses, the visual preference results from the two sequences were combined.

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.