Special Issue "Empirical Aesthetics"

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Biology and Symmetry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (14 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Helmut Leder
Website
Guest Editor
Empirical Visual Aesthetics (EVA) Lab, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Interests: visual empirical aesthetics, psychology of the arts, design, face perception
Dr. Andreas Gartus
Website
Guest Editor
Empirical Visual Aesthetics (EVA) Lab, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Interests: visual empirical aesthetics, psychology of the arts, low-level visual features (symmetry, complexity, etc.), context effects

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Research into symmetry perception has a long tradition. Symmetry is a salient visual property that can be detected rapidly by the human visual system. In addition, it has been known for a long time that symmetry is also an important factor influencing aesthetic evaluation (and complexity judgments). This has been shown for human faces, artificial black-and-white patterns, and other neutral stimuli.

However, visual symmetry seems to be less relevant for the aesthetic appreciation of artworks. Thus, the role of symmetry in aesthetic appreciation remains an open field of research, and especially in the case of complex images like artworks or real world scenes, the role of symmetry is still somewhat unclear, as perfect symmetry is rare in such images.

This special issue on Empirical Aesthetics welcomes submissions of previously unpublished experimental, theoretical, and review papers on the role of symmetry (and related concepts like balance, composition, visual complexity etc.) in aesthetic evaluation and appreciation of artificial stimuli, faces, real world objects, and artworks, as well as research on individual differences in preference for symmetry.

Prof. Dr. Helmut Leder
Dr. Andreas Gartus
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Symmetry is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • empirical aesthetics
  • preference
  • symmetry
  • balance
  • composition

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Preferring and Detecting Face Symmetry: Comparing Children and Adults Judging Human and Monkey Faces
Symmetry 2020, 12(12), 2112; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12122112 - 19 Dec 2020
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Background: Visual symmetry is often found attractive. Symmetry may be preferred either due to a bias in the visual system or due to evolutionary selection pressures related to partner preference. Simple perceptual bias views predict that symmetry preferences should be similar across types [...] Read more.
Background: Visual symmetry is often found attractive. Symmetry may be preferred either due to a bias in the visual system or due to evolutionary selection pressures related to partner preference. Simple perceptual bias views predict that symmetry preferences should be similar across types of stimuli and unlikely to be related to factors such as age. Methods: The current study examined preferences for symmetry across age groups (pre-puberty vs post-puberty) and stimuli type (human face vs monkey face). Pairs of images manipulated for symmetry were presented and participants asked to choose the image they preferred. Participants repeated the task and were asked to detect symmetry. Results: Both age of observer and stimuli type were associated with symmetry preferences. Older observers had higher preferences for symmetry but preferred it most in human vs monkey stimuli. Across both age groups, symmetry preferences and detection abilities were weakly related. Conclusions: The study supports some ideas from an evolutionary advantage view of symmetry preference, whereby symmetry is expected be higher for potential partners (here human faces) and higher post-puberty when partner choice becomes more relevant. Such potentially motivational based preferences challenge perceptual bias explanations as a sole explanation for symmetry preferences but may occur alongside them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Aesthetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Relationship of Symmetry, Complexity, and Shape in Mobile Interface Aesthetics, from an Emotional Perspective—A Case Study of the Smartwatch
Symmetry 2020, 12(9), 1403; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12091403 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Products with interactive interfaces can be seen everywhere, and product interface design aesthetics is a topic that has begun to receive wide attention. Consumers’ perceptions of product interfaces come from their own emotions, and emotion plays a significant role in product interface design [...] Read more.
Products with interactive interfaces can be seen everywhere, and product interface design aesthetics is a topic that has begun to receive wide attention. Consumers’ perceptions of product interfaces come from their own emotions, and emotion plays a significant role in product interface design aesthetics. In other words, it must meet the users’ emotional and aesthetic requirements. Therefore, we need to better understand the aesthetic design criteria and how they stimulate specific emotional responses. This study takes the dial interface of smartwatches as its experimental sample and explores how the interaction effects of the screen shape (square and round) and the symmetry type and the complexity type of the interface design influence the users’ emotional arousal and valence. In addition, it analyzes the effects of the symmetry type, the complexity type, and the screen shape on the users’ arousal and valence. The results show that the attributes of interface design aesthetics (symmetry-asymmetry, complexity-simplicity, and square-round) affect the users’ emotional responses. Moreover, the interface shape is one of the important factors in the emotional response to an interface design. This paper, based on previous research, provides vital theoretical support for the relevant literature on interface design aesthetics and the users’ emotional state. In addition, it may provide a reference for designers and developers who wish to develop and implement emotional user interfaces that are designed to more effectively appeal to their emotions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Aesthetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
What Experts Appreciate in Patterns: Art Expertise Modulates Preference for Asymmetric and Face-Like Patterns
Symmetry 2020, 12(5), 707; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12050707 - 02 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 835
Abstract
This study set out to investigate whether and how aesthetic evaluations of different types of symmetric, as well as abstract vs. representational patterns are modulated by art expertise. To this end, we utilized abstract asymmetric, symmetric, and “broken” patterns slightly deviating from symmetry, [...] Read more.
This study set out to investigate whether and how aesthetic evaluations of different types of symmetric, as well as abstract vs. representational patterns are modulated by art expertise. To this end, we utilized abstract asymmetric, symmetric, and “broken” patterns slightly deviating from symmetry, as well as more representational patterns resembling faces (also symmetric or broken). While it has already been shown that symmetry preference decreases with art expertise, it was still unclear whether an already established relationship between art expertise and preference for abstract over representational art can be similarly found as a preference for abstract over representational patterns, as these are non-art objects. Nevertheless, we found profound differences in aesthetic preferences between art experts and laypersons. While art experts rated asymmetric patterns higher than laypersons, as expected, they rated face-like patterns lower than laypersons. Also, laypersons rated all other types of patterns higher than asymmetric patterns, while art experts rated the other patterns similar or lower than asymmetric patterns. We found this both for liking and for interest ratings. As no differences between art experts and laypersons were found regarding memory recognition of new and old patterns, this effect is not likely due to differences in memory performance. In sum, this study further extends our knowledge about the influence of art expertise on aesthetic appreciation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Aesthetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Anticipatory Defocusing of Attention and Contextual Response Priming but No Role of Aesthetic Appreciation in Simple Symmetry Judgments when Switching between Tasks
Symmetry 2020, 12(4), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12040577 - 06 Apr 2020
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Visual attention can be adjusted to task requirements. We asked participants to switch between judging the symmetry of vertically presented three-letter strings and identifying the central stimulus (i.e., Eriksen task) to investigate anticipatory adjustment of attention. Our experiments provide evidence for anticipatory adjustment [...] Read more.
Visual attention can be adjusted to task requirements. We asked participants to switch between judging the symmetry of vertically presented three-letter strings and identifying the central stimulus (i.e., Eriksen task) to investigate anticipatory adjustment of attention. Our experiments provide evidence for anticipatory adjustment of visual attention, depending on the cued task (i.e., focusing and defocusing of attention after the Eriksen task cue and after the symmetry task cue, respectively). Although, symmetry judgments were, overall, considerably slower than the identification of the central letter, the effects of response congruency between tasks were comparable in the two tasks, which suggested strong response priming from concurrent symmetry judgment in Eriksen task trials. Symmetry judgment performance was best for homogeneous letter strings (e.g., HHH), worst for strings that were symmetrical and inhomogeneous (e.g., XHX), and intermediate for asymmetrical strings (e.g., HHX). The difficulty of categorizing symmetrical-inhomogeneous items markedly deviated from the aesthetic ratings of the stimuli, displaying a pronounced preference for symmetrical strings, but only little difference among the symmetrical items, and might be accounted by conflict with response priming based on inhomogeneity detection. Although our study provides little evidence for an effect of aesthetic appreciation in simple symmetry judgments, it demonstrates the strong role of contextual dependencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Aesthetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
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 - 02 Dec 2019
Viewed by 753
Abstract
Symmetry and balance are basic concepts in art theory for the composition of pictures. It is assumed that well-balanced pictures are preferred to unbalanced ones. One of the first experimental studies to test this assumption was conducted more than a century ago by [...] Read more.
Symmetry and balance are basic concepts in art theory for the composition of pictures. It is assumed that well-balanced pictures are preferred to unbalanced ones. One of the first experimental studies to test this assumption was conducted more than a century ago by Ethel Puffer. By applying a production method, she found little evidence for the hypothesis that balance is favorable for the aesthetical appreciation of pictures. Instead, she observed that other construction principles competing with balance, such as bilateral symmetry and closeness, were applied. The aim of the present study was to repeat some of Puffer’s experiments with modern methods and to examine whether her results are replicable. In two experiments, we also found little to no evidence for balance. Moreover, as in Puffer’s study, participants used closeness and bilateral symmetry as principles. However, compared to that study, the relative frequency of use of these principles was quite different. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Aesthetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Symmetrical Patterns of Ainu Heritage and Their Virtual and Physical Prototyping
Symmetry 2019, 11(8), 985; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11080985 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1378
Abstract
This article addresses virtual and physical prototyping of some symmetrical patterns collected from the Ainu cultural heritage. The indigenous people living in the northern part of Japan (e.g., Hokkaido), known as Ainu, often decorate their houses, clothing, ornaments, utensils, and spiritual goods using [...] Read more.
This article addresses virtual and physical prototyping of some symmetrical patterns collected from the Ainu cultural heritage. The indigenous people living in the northern part of Japan (e.g., Hokkaido), known as Ainu, often decorate their houses, clothing, ornaments, utensils, and spiritual goods using some unique patterns. The patterns carry their identity as well as their sense of aesthetics. Nowadays, different kinds of souvenirs and cultural artifacts crafted with Ainu patterns are cherished by many individuals in Japan and abroad. Thus, the Ainu patterns carry both cultural and commercial significance. A great deal of craftsmanship is needed to produce the Ainu patterns precisely. There is a lack of human resources having such craftsmanship. It will remain the same in the foreseeable future. Thus, there is a pressing need to preserve such craftsmanship. Digital manufacturing technology can be used to preserve the Ainu pattern-making craftsmanship. From this perspective, this article presents a methodology to create both virtual and physical prototypes of Ainu patterns using digital manufacturing technology. In particular, a point cloud-based approach was adopted to model the patterns. A point cloud representing a pattern was then used to create a virtual prototype of the pattern in the form of a solid CAD model. The triangulation data of each solid CAD model were then used to run a 3D printer to produce a physical prototype (replica of the pattern). The virtual and physical prototypes of both basic (Hokkaido) Ainu motifs and some synthesized patterns were reproduced using the presented methodology. The findings of this study will help those who want to digitize the craftsmanship of culturally significant artifacts without using a 3D scanner or image processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Aesthetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Perceived Beauty of Regular Polygon Tessellations
Symmetry 2019, 11(8), 984; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11080984 - 02 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1143
Abstract
Beauty judgments for regular polygon tessellations were examined in two experiments. In experiment 1 we tested the three regular and eight semi-regular tilings characterized by a single vertex. In experiment 2 we tested the 20 demi-regular tilings containing two vertices. Observers viewed the [...] Read more.
Beauty judgments for regular polygon tessellations were examined in two experiments. In experiment 1 we tested the three regular and eight semi-regular tilings characterized by a single vertex. In experiment 2 we tested the 20 demi-regular tilings containing two vertices. Observers viewed the tessellations at different random orientations inside a circular aperture and rated them using a numeric 1–7 scale. The data from the first experiment show a peak in preference for tiles with two types of polygons and for five polygons around a vertex. Triangles were liked more than other geometric shapes. The results from the second experiment demonstrate a preference for tessellations with a greater number of different kinds of polygons in the overall pattern and for tiles with the greatest difference in the number of polygons between the two vertices. Ratings were higher for tiles with circular arrangements of elements and lower for those with linear arrangements. Symmetry group p6m was liked the most and groups cmm and pmm were liked the least. Taken as a whole the results suggest a preference for complexity and variety in terms of both vertex qualities and symmetric transformations. Observers were sensitive to both the underlying mathematical properties of the patterns as well as their emergent organization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Empirical Aesthetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop