In the working memory of the beholder: Art appreciation is enhanced when visual complexity is compatible with working memory

Aleksandra Sherman*, Marcia Grabowecky, Satoru Suzuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

What shapes art appreciation? Much research has focused on the importance of visual features themselves (e.g., symmetry, natural scene statistics) and of the viewer's experience and expertise with specific artworks. However, even after taking these factors into account, there are considerable individual differences in art preferences. Our new result suggests that art preference is also influenced by the compatibility between visual properties and the characteristics of the viewer's visual system. Specifically, we have demonstrated, using 120 artworks from diverse periods, cultures, genres, and styles, that art appreciation is increased when the level of visual complexity within an artwork is compatible with the viewer's visual working memory capacity. The result highlights the importance of the interaction between visual features and the beholder's general visual capacity in shaping art appreciation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-903
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Art
  • Complexity
  • Visual-object working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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