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Sho Kishigami, Yuma Taniyama, Shigeki Nakauchi, Tetsuto Minami; Preference of facing/lighting direction for portraits paintings. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):97. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.97.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Background: There are more portrait paintings with model facing to the right than those facing to the left (Humphrey and McManus, 1973). Correspondingly, paintings with a light source positioned on the right side are reported to be more natural than the left side (Carbon and Pastukhov, 2018). This study examined how the direction of the face and the position of the light source affect the preference for portraits, for Japanese and indigenous Malaysian participants. Method: 2-AFC paradigm was used to measure the preference for portrait paintings. Japanese (n = 20: male = 15, female = 5) and Malaysian (n = 9: male = 8, female = 1) were asked to choose which they prefer between original or horizontally inverted portrait. Approximately 14,500 portrait paintings were collected from WikiArt. The aspect ratio and the average illuminance of the stimuli were controlled, then classified by 3 conditions, the direction of the face, position of the light source and the gender of the model. 120 portraits (15 from each condition) were selected and used in this experiment. The results and Discussions: Result showed the main effect of facing direction on preference in both groups, no effect was found in the position of light source. Also, we found a difference in the preference of the face direction between Japanese and Malaysian people. Japanese preferred the model facing right, and Malaysian preferred the left. Furthermore, these result suggested that the biased preference by the model face direction was also existent not just in photographs but also in portrait paintings. Taken together, our study showed that there are cross-cultural differences on the preference of the face direction in the portraits between Japanese and Malaysian (Indigenous) people, which might be due to the cultural background; for example, the familiarity with western cultures.
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