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Lauren Vale, Denis Pelli; The role of duration in the experience of beauty. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1177. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1177.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Imagine catching a glimpse of Monet's Water Lilies in an art museum. How long must one look at an image to experience beauty? We examined how exposure duration affects the experience of beauty. Before the experiment, we asked participants to, "pick images that are movingly beautiful to you" from Google images. We also selected moderately rated non-beautiful IAPS images, which will be referred to as "pretty". We measured pleasure continuously (using emotiontracker.com) until 30 s after a variable-length presentation (1 to 30 s) of a beautiful or pretty image. At the end of each trial we asked participants if they felt beauty (yes or no). We fit the pleasure ratings after stimulus offset with an exponential decay α·exp(-t/τ) with two parameters: amplitude α and time constant τ. Pleasure ratings were lower for pretty (M±SE=5.4±0.6) than for beautiful (7.8±0.8) images. For beautiful images, increasing exposure duration (1, 6, 15, or 30 s) hardly changed the frequency of reporting feeling beauty at the end of the trial (P = 58%, 56%, 57%, and 63%; SE=5%), but produced higher pleasure (α = 6.0, 5.9, 6.7, or 7.3; SE=0.6), which decayed more slowly (τ = 0±57, 20±33, 133±71, 381±190). Thus, we found that a beautiful image produces more pleasure than pretty images, and the pleasure felt after 30 s exposure to a beautiful image lingers twice as long as that from shorter durations (1, 6, or 15 s).
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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