The effects of symmetry and personality on aesthetic preferences

Swami, Viren and Furnham, Adrian (2012) The effects of symmetry and personality on aesthetic preferences. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 32 (1). pp. 41-57. ISSN 0276-2366

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This study examined the effect of introducing symmetry into Piet Mondrian's asymmetric neo-plastic paintings and individual difference correlates of their aesthetic appeal. Left and right mirror reflections of 19 paintings by Mondrian were created using a computer graphics program. The 19 original paintings, 19 left-left mirror alternatives, and 19 right-right mirror alternatives were randomly presented to 158 undergraduates who rated each for aesthetic appeal. In addition, participants completed scales that measured their cognitive ability, sensation seeking, ambiguity tolerance, Big Five personality factors, artistic activities, and demographics. Results showed that participants rated the asymmetric originals as more appealing than either the right-right or left-left mirror alternatives. In addition, a multiple regression showed that participants' Openness to Experience and cognitive ability were significant predictors of liking toward Mondrian's original paintings. These results support the notion that masterworks of art are aesthetically pleasing because they include the optimal representational balance of visual components.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 14:54
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2012 16:03

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