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Jay Friedenberg, Veena Cherian, Jillian Enyart; Perceived Beauty and Polygon Shape Regularity. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):795. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.795.
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The Gestalt psychologists used the phrase Pragnanz to mean "good figure" yet did not quantify the term. One type of goodness is geometric regularity. A polygon is regular if it's sides and angles are equal. When asked to rate typicality or to draw triangles and quadrilaterals, participants are biased toward regularity (Feldman, 2000). In the current study we investigate whether this shape property affects aesthetic judgment. We manipulated regularity along a continuum by fixing the length of one side of a triangle and allowing the lengths of the remaining two sides to vary. The procedure produced equilateral, scalene, right and isosceles triangles equated for size. Twenty-two undergraduate participants observed versions of these triangles presented in multiple blocks at different random orientations. They rated the perceived beauty of the shapes using a seven point (1-7) rating scale. The standard deviation of the sides F(7, 21) = 191, p < 0.01 and angles F(7, 21) = 218, p < 0.01 significantly predicted judgments with a better statistical fit for angles. Symmetry also predicted judgments with ratings higher for shapes with more reflectional symmetry axes. The results demonstrate an aesthetic preference for shapes with increased geometric regularity. In preliminary data from a second experiment using quadrilaterals, we varied regularity again by altering the ratio of two side lengths. For all quadrilateral types (square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus, kite and trapezoid) there was a preference for regular and symmetric shapes F(3, 60) = 139, p < 0.01. Feldman, J. (2000). Bias toward regular form in mental shape spaces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 26, 152-165.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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