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The aesthetic quality model: Complexity and randomness as foundations of visual beauty by signaling quality

Krpan, Dario and Van Tilburg, Wijnand (2022) 'The aesthetic quality model: Complexity and randomness as foundations of visual beauty by signaling quality.' Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. ISSN 1931-3896 (In Press)

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Abstract

Visual complexity has been identified as a fundamental property that shapes the beauty of visual images. However, its exact influence on beauty judgments, and the mechanism behind this influence, remain a conundrum. In the present article, we developed and empirically evaluated the Aesthetic Quality Model, which proposes that the link between complexity and beauty depends on another key visual property—randomness. According to the model, beauty judgements are determined by an interaction between these two properties, with more beautiful patterns featuring comparatively high complexity and low randomness. The model further posits that this configuration of complexity and randomness leads to higher beauty because it signals quality (i.e., creativity and skill). Study 1 confirmed that black and white binary patterns were judged as more beautiful when they combined high complexity with low randomness. Study 2 replicated these findings using an experimental method and with a more representative set of patterns, and it pointed to quality attribution as a candidate mechanism underlying the beauty judgements. Studies 3 and 4 confirmed these findings using experimental manipulation of the mechanism. Overall, the present research supports the aesthetic quality model, breaking new ground in understanding the fundamentals of beauty judgement.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: beauty; complexity; computational aesthetics; randomness
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2022 21:12
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 10:51
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/32925

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