August 2010
Volume 10, Issue 7
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2010
Aesthetic Preferences in the Size of Images of Real-world Objects
Author Affiliations
  • Sarah Linsen
    Department of Psychology, KULeuven
  • Mieke H.R. Leyssen
    Department of Psychology, KULeuven
  • Jonathan S. Gardner
    Department of Psychology, UC Berkeley
  • Stephen E. Palmer
    Department of Psychology, UC Berkeley
Journal of Vision August 2010, Vol.10, 1234. doi:
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      Sarah Linsen, Mieke H.R. Leyssen, Jonathan S. Gardner, Stephen E. Palmer; Aesthetic Preferences in the Size of Images of Real-world Objects. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1234.

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

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In previous research, Konkle and Oliva (VSS-2009) found that the preferred visual size (“canonical size”) of a picture of an object is proportional to the log of its known physical size: Small physical objects are preferred when their images are small within a frame and large physical objects are preferred when their images are large within a frame. They employed within-participant designs using multiple objects in several different tasks, including a perceptual preference task in which they asked participants to adjust the image size so that the object “looks best.” Because of concerns about how the instructions were interpreted (is the image that “looks best” the one at which it “looks most like itself” or the one that is “most aesthetically pleasing”) and possible demand characteristics (the same person seeing multiple objects of different sizes may implicitly feel pressured to make their relative sizes consistent), we studied image size effects on aesthetic judgments using a two-alternative forced-choice method in both within- and between-participant designs, asking them to choose the picture that you “like best. ”In Experiment 1, participants saw all possible pairs of images depicting the same object at six different sizes for twelve real-world objects that varied in physical size. Consistent with Konkle and Oliva's findings, participants preferred small objects to be smaller in the frame and large objects to be larger, regardless of whether they saw only a single object (the between-participant design) or all objects intermixed (the within-participant design). In Experiment 2, we examined whether this effect would still be evident if the amount of visual detail present at different sizes was equated by “posterizing” the images. Here the ecological bias toward relative size effects disappeared. Our findings indicate that multiple factors interact in determining aesthetic responses to images of different sizes.

Linsen, S. Leyssen, M. H.R. Gardner, J. S. Palmer, S. E. (2010). Aesthetic Preferences in the Size of Images of Real-world Objects [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 10(7):1234, 1234a,, doi:10.1167/10.7.1234. [CrossRef]
 National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0745820.

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