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Sharon Gershoni, Shaul Hochstein; Re-examination of methods for measuring pictorial balance perception using Japanese calligraphy. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1233. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1233.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In art, pictorial balance is considered the primary principle that unifies elements of a perceived composition. Balance has the power to turn a random array of elements into a cohesive harmonious picture. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of pictorial balance in visual organization processing. Previous studies suggest that balance is perceived in a 50"–100ms glance and serves to create a global image scan path, guiding observer gaze, selecting features for processing(Locher & Nagy, 1996). Individual scan paths depend on art training (Nodine et al.1993) and eye movements relate to visual aesthetics when viewing art (Locher et al. 2007). The Artistic Probabilistic Balance (APB) test (Wilson and Chatterjee 2005) is a computational balance assessment, based on the sum of area balance ratios across eight symmetry axes. APB values successfully matched subject balance ratings and preferences when tested with simple geometric images, without accounting for influences of grouping, training, gaze duration and memory. We now compare APB measures for sixteen Japanese calligraphic characters to results from two psychophysical experiments, using brief (200ms) masked presentation. In Experiment 1, subjects rated balance on the scale of 1-to-6 for Japanese characters presented in the left, center or right of the visual field. In Experiment 2, they rated relative balance in a 2-AFC paradigm for characters presented left/right of fixation. Results show high correlation between performances in different locations and between experiments, but low correlation with APB measures. We suggest a computational revision of APB, assigning different weights to the symmetry axes and adding contribution directionality. This revision revealed interesting orientation preferences in perceiving balance, which were confirmed in new rating experiments using stimuli presented in various rotations.
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