August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Effects of object facing direction and implied motion on preferences for spatial composition
Author Affiliations
  • Thomas Langlois
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Jonathan Sammartino
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Stephen Palmer
    University of California, Berkeley
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 1081. doi:
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      Thomas Langlois, Jonathan Sammartino, Stephen Palmer; Effects of object facing direction and implied motion on preferences for spatial composition. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1081.

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

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Palmer, Gardner, and Wickens (2008) found an "inward bias" in aesthetic preferences for the position of a single object inside a frame that depended on its facing direction: right-facing objects were preferred left of center and left-facing objects were preferred right of center. They hypothesized that participants would also prefer objects that characteristically move forward (e.g., people, dogs, and cars) to be located farther from the center of the frame than objects that are characteristically static (e.g., flowers, chairs, and teapots) to provide more space for their forward motion, but no difference was detected between these two object classes. In the present experiments, we tested whether the motion direction and speed of self-propelled moving objects influenced the preferred horizontal position of forward facing objects. We used images of left- and right-facing humans, horses, and cars that depicted different motion directions and speeds. The results showed that motion direction trumped facing direction for forward/backward divers, in that divers facing one direction and moving in the opposite direction (i.e., backward divers) were preferred to be facing out of the frame but moving into it. Additional conditions investigated the effects of implied speed using images of standing, walking, jogging, and running humans and standing, walking, trotting, and galloping horses. Inward biases were again present, but no differences in their magnitude were detected in the different speed conditions. These results suggest that both facing direction and motion direction affect preferred horizontal positioning, but not motion speed.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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