August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
The relationship between color and form in judgments of preference and harmony
Author Affiliations
  • Gary Hackett
    Interdisciplinary Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Karen B. Schloss
    Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
  • Stephen E. Palmer
    Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 339. doi:
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      Gary Hackett, Karen B. Schloss, Stephen E. Palmer; The relationship between color and form in judgments of preference and harmony. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):339.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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In this study we investigated how the shapes and colors of lines influenced both preference and harmony ratings. We used two types of lines, irregularly jagged and smoothly curved, which were each presented in isolation as well as in side-by-side pairs: both jagged, both curved, and jagged + curved. Colors included eight saturated hues (unique-red, orange, unique-yellow, chartreuse, unique-green, cyan, unique-blue, and purple). Single lines appeared in each of the eight colors. Pairs of lines appeared in one of three color relationships: same hue (identity), adjacent hues (analogous), or opposite hues (complementary). Preference ratings were later obtained from the same participants for the eight individual colors presented as squares in isolation. Harmony ratings were strongly influenced by both line type and color relationship. Single curved lines were judged more harmonious than single jagged lines, curved pairs were more harmonious than jagged pairs, and pairs with different lines types were judged least harmonious. For all line pair types, harmony ratings increased as a function of hue similarity, consistent with Schloss and Palmer's (VSS-07) findings that color harmony is largely driven by hue similarity. In contrast, average preference ratings were only affected by line type: curved single lines were preferred to jagged single lines, and pairs containing same-shaped lines (both curved or both jagged ) were preferred to pairs that contained one line of each type. A regression model predicted 55% of the variance in preference ratings with two predictors: harmony ratings of the corresponding displays and average preference for the line colors in the display.

Hackett, G. Schloss, K. B. Palmer, S. E. (2009). The relationship between color and form in judgments of preference and harmony [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):339, 339a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.339. [CrossRef]
 NSF grant BCS-0745820, Google.

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