Art & Perception

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 2213-4905 / 2213-4913
Published by: Brill Academic Publishers (10.1163)
Total articles ≅ 111
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Latest articles in this journal

Jan J. Koenderink, Doris I. Braun, Andrea J. van Doorn
Published: 30 November 2021
Art & Perception, Volume -1, pp 1-60;

Responses to colored patterns were collected for a group of 60 naive participants. We explicitly aimed at affective responses, rather than aesthetic judgments, so this is not ‘color harmony’ proper. Patterns were mainly spatially highly structured compositions, the color palettes reminiscent of what is found in generic ‘colorist’ art. Color combinations systematically cover mono-, di-, and trichromatic chromatic chords, whereas there was always an additional achromatic component. This sets the research apart from the bulk of the mainstream literature on ‘color harmony.’ Various ways of analysis are compared. Clustering methods reveal that the responses are highly structured through the teal–orange (cool–warm) dimension. Clustering reveals a large group of mutually concordant participants and various small, idiosyncratic groups. When the data is coarse-grained, retaining only a limited red–blue–yellow palette, the group as a whole appears quite concordant. It is evident that responses are systematic, thus the notion of a universal affective response to color combinations gains some credibility. The precise affective responses are specific because constrained by the seven categories used in the experiment. Thus, the systematic structure is perhaps to be understood as the generic result. We discuss tangencies with various traits found with ‘colorist’ art styles.
Arefe Sarami, Reza Afhami, Johan Wagemans
Published: 3 November 2021
Art and Perception, Volume -1, pp 1-45;

Perceptual organisation is hypothesised as a key in the perception and appreciation of abstract art. Here, we investigated how relational and compositional features affected the perception and aesthetic appreciation of Black Square and Red Square by Kazimir Malevich (1915). We studied how (i) the presence and obliquity of the red square and (ii) the relative configuration of the black and red square affected the detectability of the obliquity of the black square in this artwork. Results showed that the simultaneous presence and obliquity of the red square masked the obliquity of the original black square. The likelihood of the black square being incorrectly perceived as an exact square was always maximum in the original configuration and even slight alterations in the original configuration of the work resulted in the obliquity of the black square to be noticed. The original artwork was more aesthetically preferred compared to its alternatives. We argue that the artist may have intentionally set the configuration to mask the obliquity of the black square and maximise the aesthetic preference.
P. N. Johnson-Laird, Keith Oatley
Published: 25 October 2021
Art & Perception, Volume 9, pp 260-292;

Some people feel emotions when they look at abstract art. This article presents a ‘simulation’ theory that predicts which emotions they will experience, including those based on their aesthetic reactions. It also explains the mental processes underlying these emotions. This new theory embodies two precursors: an account of how mental models represent perceptions, descriptions, and self-reflections, and an account of the communicative nature of emotions, which distinguishes between basic emotions that can be experienced without knowledge of their objects or causes, and complex emotions that are founded on basic ones, but that include propositional contents. The resulting simulation theory predicts that abstract paintings can evoke the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and anxiety, and that they do so in several ways. In mimesis, models simulate the actions and gestures of people in emotional states, elicited from cues in the surface of paintings, and that in turn evoke basic emotions. Other basic emotions depend on synaesthesia, and both association and projection can yield complex emotions. Underlying viewers’ awareness of looking at a painting is a mental model of themselves in that relation with the painting. This self-reflective model has access to knowledge, enabling people to evaluate the work, and to experience an aesthetic emotion, such as awe or revulsion. The comments of artists and critics, and experimental results support the theory.
Rachel A. Starr, Jonathan A. Smith
Published: 30 June 2021
Art & Perception, Volume 9, pp 241-259;

What is it like to look at a painting? Research into art viewing raises challenging considerations. Factors concerning the artwork, the viewer, the role of context, as well as conceptualisation of the response and how to measure it, present a wealth of complexity. Although such a topic might arguably lend itself to qualitative exploration, work of this type is notably sparse. In the research reported here, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore the experience of looking at a painting. Twelve participants were individually interviewed whilst viewing Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. Three Master Themes were developed, the first of which, ‘The Gaze’, is presented in depth. Experiences of looking and being looked at by figures in the image are described and considered in relation to social and philosophical understandings of eye contact, seeing and being seen.
Michele Sinico, Marco Bertamini, Alessandro Soranzo
Published: 21 June 2021
Art & Perception, Volume 9, pp 220-240;

A large number of studies have focused on the aesthetic value of smoothly curved objects. By contrast, angular shapes tend to be associated with tertiary qualities such as threat, hardness, loudness, nervousness, etc. The present study focuses on the effect of curvilinearity vs angularity on the aesthetic experience of design artefacts. We used the drawings of everyday objects with novel shapes created by 56 designers (IUAV image dataset). Each drawing had two versions: a smooth and an angular version. To test new tertiary associations, beyond aesthetic value, we obtained ratings for seven characteristics (‘soft/hard, sad/cheerful, male/female, bad/good, aggressive/peaceful, agitated/serene, useless/useful’) from 174 naïve observers. Importantly, each naïve rater saw only one of the two versions of an object. The results confirmed a significant relation between smoothness and hardness as well as other (tertiary) associations. The link between smoothness and usefulness confirms that perceptual utility is significantly influenced by the shape of the object. This finding suggests that tertiary qualities convey both static and functional information about design objects. The role of perceptual constraints in drawing design artefacts is also discussed.
Ventura Charlin, Arturo Cifuentes
Published: 31 May 2021
Art & Perception, Volume 9, pp 199-219;

Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square series comprises a vast ensemble of compositions based on similar arrays of nested squares. The main difference among these paintings is the colors employed. Therefore, they constitute an almost natural experiment to explore color preferences. We focus on the relationship between the prices paid in public auctions for these paintings and their color attributes over a fourteen-year period. We describe the attributes of the color palette using several color-related metrics aimed at capturing dominant colors, color diversity and contrast, color harmony, and color emotions. We find that color-related metrics explain a great deal of the price variation in Albers’ Squares series. Intriguingly, dominant colors and emotions are the key variables, while color harmony, contrast and diversity play no role at all. We also find that the market favors lighter tones and bluer hues. Additionally, the analyses reveal that Albers, judged by the prices commanded by his paintings, was a quintessential experimentalist ‒ as opposed to a conceptual artist. That is, an artist who kept improving as he gained more experience playing with the same concept over and over. It is worth noting that using market prices to study color preferences or judge aesthetic merits can provide different insights regarding color preferences and color perception, given the fact that most color preference studies are carried out in experimental or artificial settings, where the subjects do not have any direct interests at stake.
Jan Koenderink, Andrea van Doorn
Art and Perception, Volume 9, pp 134-166;

‘Orange & Teal’ has become the preferred ‘look’ of the Hollywood movie industry. Is this craze just another arbitrary fashion? Possibly not, because ‒ apart from the name ‒ this palette has been around for ages in the visual arts. It is variously known as ‘painting in cool and warm,’ drawing a trois croyons, use of a ‘limited palette,’ and so forth. This leaves open the question of whether there might be one or more fundamental reasons for the preference for this particular dichromatic pair. Why not yellow–blue, red–turquoise, or green–purple? Reasons might be sought in human anatomy/physiology, physics of surface scattering, or the ecology of the human Umwelt. An in-depth analysis reveals that all these factors cooperate to render the orange & teal complementary palette indeed special. It involves world, body and mind and has to be understood in a proper semiotical (biological) setting.
Esma Betül Savaş, Thijs Verwijmeren, Rob van Lier
Published: 22 April 2021
Art and Perception, Volume 9, pp 167-198;

Interactive art, which is art that relies on the participation of a spectator and in which the spectators enter the creative process, has changed the way people relate with artworks. An experiment was conducted in a laboratory with an interactive artwork (Temporal Perspectives by Doruk Kumkuoğlu and Sadettin Bilal Savaş, 2016) to investigate whether interactivity is a factor that plays a role in the aesthetic emotions and creativity of the spectator. The results indicated a significant increase in beauty, in response to interactive art. Partial correlational network analyses were conducted to further investigate the emotional experience of the artworks in both conditions. These analyses showed differences between the conditions in the emotional response to interactive art. However, cognitive flexibility of participants did not differ between conditions. The results indicate that interactivity should be taken into account as an element that affects the perception of art.
Piotr Oleś, Elżbieta Chmielnicka-Kuter, Tomasz Jankowski, Piotr Francuz, Paweł Augustynowicz, Małgorzata Łysiak
Published: 22 January 2021
Art and Perception, Volume 9, pp 90-111;

For many generations, works of art have been a source for experiencing beauty. They add to the wealth of our culture because they convey universal themes and values. In this study, we treat paintings as a stimulus for personal story-telling. The purpose was to explore the affective quality of personal meanings present in autobiographical narratives. Our findings show that subjective ratings of the beauty of figurative paintings are linked with the quality and theme of personal experiences recalled in response to viewing them, but not related to the length of the story. ‘Beautiful’ pictures elicit descriptions of desirable experiences associated with passive contemplation and satisfied self-enhancement motive. ‘Non-beautiful’ pictures call to mind difficult experiences linked with frustration. The experts formulated longer self-narratives inspired by paintings rated beautiful in comparison to laypersons, and laypersons formulated longer self-narratives inspired by paintings rated not beautiful in comparison to experts. The results are discussed in connection to the nature of the aesthetic experience and specificity of personal maenings.
Marina Iosifyan
Published: 19 January 2021
Art and Perception, Volume 9, pp 113-133;

Theory of mind is a cognitive ability that enables us to understand mental states of others, important in real-life communications as well as in aesthetic cognition. The present research investigated whether understanding intentions and emotions is related to aesthetic appreciation. Study 1 tested whether there is a link between aesthetic appreciation of cinematic films and attempts to understand the intentions and emotions of the artists and the film characters. It showed that a self-reported understanding of emotions and intentions is positively associated with aesthetic appreciation. Studies 2 and 4 investigated a causal relationship between the attempt to understand emotions and an aesthetic appreciation of artistic photos. Study 3 investigated an actual understanding of emotions and aesthetic appreciation of movie shots. The results show that when people evaluate the emotional state of the characters, they aesthetically appreciate artistic photos more, compared to when they evaluate non-mental characteristics of these photos (age of the characters, the colour of the photos). Moreover, better understanding of another’s emotions is related to greater aesthetic appreciation.
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