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Christine E. Nothelfer, Karen B. Schloss, Stephen E. Palmer; The role of spatial composition in preference for color pairs. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):342. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.8.342.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In this project we investigated the role of spatial composition in preference for color pairs. Our 37 colors included: 8 hues (red, orange, yellow, chartreuse, green, cyan, blue, purple) × 4 brightness/saturation levels (saturated, desaturated, light, dark) plus five grays. In the first experiment, displays contained two figure-ground pairs (small square on larger squares), side-by-side. Both pairs contained the same two colors in opposite spatial locations (e.g., yellow figure on blue ground and blue figure on yellow ground). Participants were asked whether they preferred the left, right or neither pair. A regression model showed that 32% of the variance was explainable by difference in preference for figure and ground colors when rated in isolation: pairs in which the ground color was more preferred than the figure color were more preferred overall. An additional 33% of the variance, however, was explainable by yellowness/blueness and lightness darkness: pairs with yellower, lighter figures and bluer, darker grounds were more preferred. In the second experiment we tested whether relative area, surroundedness or shared perimeter size influenced how spatial composition affected pair preference. In figure-ground displays we varied the area (and perimeter) of the figure; in bipartite displays we varied the relative size of the left and right regions; and in “plus sign” displays we varied the perimeter of the figure and held area constant. Results show that relative area was the most important factor influencing preference. For both figure-ground displays participants preferred color combinations in which the smaller region was yellower and the larger region was bluer. This was also true for bipartite displays, showing that surroundedness was not an important factor. Changes in perimeter when area was held constant had no effect on preference.
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