# Symmetry and Balance as Factors of Aesthetic Appreciation: Ethel Puffer’s (1903) “Studies in Symmetry” Revised

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## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Experiment 1

#### 2.1. Method

#### 2.1.1. Participants

#### 2.1.2. Stimuli

#### 2.1.3. Procedure

#### 2.2. Results

#### 2.2.1. Testing the Hypotheses

#### 2.2.2. Adjustment Times

#### 2.2.3. Individual Performance

#### 2.3. Discussion

## 3. Experiment 2

#### 3.1. Method

#### 3.2. Results

#### 3.2.1. Adjustment Times

#### 3.2.2. Individual Performance

#### 3.3. Discussion

## 4. General Discussion

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Acknowledgments

## Conflicts of Interest

## References

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**Figure 1.**Three examples of arrangements applied in Puffer’s [23] study. The black surface had an extension of 60 × 40 cm. The width of the elements was 1 cm and their length 16 or 8 cm, respectively.

**Figure 2.**Example displays for all main conditions (combinations of F and V) used in Experiment 1, based on Puffer’s (1903) original study (Exp. I–III). The shapes of the lines are simplified.

**Figure 3.**Example displays for some conditions (short-long, double-long, oblique-in-long, and oblique-out-long) in Experiment 1 (Block 1: F-left, V-right).

**Figure 4.**This figure shows two examples of results for each of the eight main conditions in Experiment 1. Each row corresponds to one condition. The left and right columns represent the F location of 80 and 160 pixels, respectively. Each black line indicates an adjusted position for the variable element. The arrow above the lines indicates the mean of all V positions and the cross indicates the center of the frame. The turquoise line represents the location for mechanical balance, and the magenta line that for bilateral symmetry (relative to F). The distribution at the bottom reflects the estimated intensities (see text for details).

**Figure 5.**Individual performance of our 39 participants (Experiment 1) in the long-short (upper panel) and double-short (lower panel) conditions (F location: 80 pixels). The filled rectangles represent the fixed elements. The left and right border indicate the center and inner edge of the fixed element, respectively. The red and blue lines show the adjusted positions in the F-right and F-left block, respectively. The long vertical lines indicate the regions of interest for closeness and symmetry.

**Figure 6.**This figure shows preferences of the 39 participants (Experiment 1) with respect to symmetry and closeness. Each point represents one participant and indicates how many of her or his 80 adjustments are located in the region of interest for symmetry or closeness, respectively. The blue triangles represent participants who more often chose positions according to the closeness hypothesis than those in accord with symmetry. The red squares represent persons with the reversed preference. The black circles stand for participants that preferred neither of the two strategies. The single digit indicates that the adjacent point represents four participants.

**Figure 7.**This figure shows the performance of the 36 participants in Experiment 2. Each point represents a participant and indicates how many of her or his 80 adjustments are located in the region of interest for symmetry or closeness, respectively. The blue triangles represent participants who more often adjusted positions according to the closeness hypothesis than to the symmetry hypothesis. The red squares represent participants for which the relation was reversed. The black circles represent participants that preferred neither of the two strategies. The digits indicate that the adjacent point represents two participants.

**Table 1.**Number of significant tests (maximum 3) in each of the eight element-type conditions for the four hypotheses, respectively, in Experiment 1. For further details, see the text.

Balance | Symmetry | Closeness | Centering | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 short-long | 0(19:28) | 1(56:27) | 1(58:17) | 1(35:19) |

2 long-short | 0(10:17) | 1(59:42) | 0(61:20) | 0(39:45) |

3 double-short | 0(8:4) | 0(33:19) | 3(153:7) | 1(67:11) |

4 double-long | 0(42:28) | 0(42:28) | 2(72:16) | 3(42:13) |

5 obl.-in-short | 2(52:22) | 2(52:22) | 3(94:20) | 0(28:24) |

6 obl.-in-long | 0(20:26) | 1(40:23) | 0(71:23) | 1(41:22) |

7 obl.-out-short | 1(40:25) | 1(40:25) | 3(98:19) | 1(35:16) |

8 obl.-out-long | 0(17:26) | 0(32:19) | 2(92:19) | 2(51:24) |

Sum | 3(208:176) | 6(354:205) | 14(699:141) | 9(338:174) |

**Table 2.**Number of significant tests in each of the eight main conditions for the four hypotheses, respectively, in Experiment 2. For further details, see text.

Balance | Symmetry | Closeness | Centering | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 short-long | 0(11:18) | 2(45:21) | 1(70:18) | 0(21:17) |

2 long-short | 0(13:14) | 1(44:28) | 0(59:28) | 0(36:33) |

3 double-short | 0(7:5) | 0(14:12) | 3(142:15) | 1(57:15) |

4 double-long | 1(36:22) | 1(36:22) | 0(73:19) | 0(25:15) |

5 obl.-in-short | 0(26:14) | 0(26:14) | 2(98:14) | 0(24:21) |

6 obl.-in-long | 0(11:19) | 0(16:21) | 1(89:23) | 0(32:22)) |

7 obl.-out-short | 0(22:13) | 0(22:13) | 3(100:14) | 1(39:19) |

8 obl.-out-long | 0(13:17) | 0(19:16) | 1(96:26) | 0(33:20) |

Sum | 1(139:122) | 4(222: 147) | 11(727:157) | 2(267:162) |

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Hübner, R.; Thömmes, K.
Symmetry and Balance as Factors of Aesthetic Appreciation: Ethel Puffer’s (1903) “Studies in Symmetry” Revised. *Symmetry* **2019**, *11*, 1468.
https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11121468

**AMA Style**

Hübner R, Thömmes K.
Symmetry and Balance as Factors of Aesthetic Appreciation: Ethel Puffer’s (1903) “Studies in Symmetry” Revised. *Symmetry*. 2019; 11(12):1468.
https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11121468

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Hübner, Ronald, and Katja Thömmes.
2019. "Symmetry and Balance as Factors of Aesthetic Appreciation: Ethel Puffer’s (1903) “Studies in Symmetry” Revised" *Symmetry* 11, no. 12: 1468.
https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11121468