09:00 – 11:00 Registration table open

09.30 – 10.30 Symposium: Digital Borderlines
09.30 – 09.45
Ludwig Hanisch: The aesthetic borderliner

The medium is the message (McLuhan): In the case of Nintendo’s ‘Gameboy’, the medium was a message that defined a generation. Pixelated 8-bit greyscale pictures signified that video game entertainment has become independent from temporal and spatial restrictions. The medium was fit for the pocket, powered by batteries and affordable for the masses. Specific visual aesthetics―from Tetris to Zelda―have become part of our cultural heritage. At the same time, Game Boy cartridges have become valuable collector’s items. We will reflect on the nostalgia for games as a leitmotif of artistical work. We will also reflect on the longing for making digital (and thus, reproducible) content unique via NFTs. In addition, we will present a project where the first author has materialized digitalized reproductions of his works on a Gameboy cartridge. As a limited collector’s edition of digitized paintings, this cartridge is on the borderline of Kunst and Kitsch (Art & Kitsch) and questions the distinction between original aesthetic work and simulacrum.

09.45 – 10.00
Marius H. Raab: The aesthetics of societal disruption: A psychological comparison of Jugendstil/ Art Nouveau and Vaporwave

Societal change is mirrored by aesthetic zeitgeist on different dimensions. From a technical point of view, new modes of production allow for new modes of artistic expression. On a more psychological level, our view on the world and on or fellow humans gets radically altered by technological and societal disruptions; which, in turn, become visible in the techniques and motifs of art. I will outline the psychological revolution at the end of the 19th century―what Kandel has called the “age of insight” ―with its artistic manifestations and a specific kind of nostalgia. In contrast, the Vaporwave movement in contemporary art and pop culture draws on a pink-and mint green, often pixelated, image of the 1980ies and 1990ies. At first glance, there’s litte resemblance to the floral ornaments and curved forms of Art Nouveau. Yet, I will show that both styles share a psychological concern: They re-evaluate our relationship to nature and society, for the industrial and the digital revolution repecitvely, by blending aesthetic metaphors of both the passing and the dawning age.

10.00 – 10.15
Victoria Sommermann: Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in 4-bit: Measuring iconicity of famous photographs by pixelization

Media images are fleeting: One day’s lead photographs might be forgotten the very next day. Some images, however, become ingrained in our collective memory. Those iconic photos attain a very high recognition value. Famous examples are the “Guerrillero heroic” photo by Alberto Korda, depicting Che Guevara, or Sam Shaw’s “flying skirt” photo of Marilyn Monroe. To measure (and thus, compare) the iconicity of images, we propose to employ the technique of pixelization. By using digital constraints to reduce pictorial information, we can empirically determine the threshold where pixels let a Gestalt emerge. We took 24 classical iconic portrait images and 24 portraits of contemporary media icons (like the Youtuber PewDiePie and the TikToker @khaby.lame). In preparation, the images were reduced to an 4-bit greyscale palette (16 shades of grey) and cropped to a square. Presentation started with a 2×2 pixel downsample. Participants could increase the pixel count in one-pixel- steps until they recognized the depicted person correctly. For every image, we averaged the pictorial information necessary for recognition (in bits, so width x height x 4) over participants and derived a measure of iconicity which we call Iconicity-Index (I-I). Future research will relate those measures to other, more direct assessments of iconicity, such as frequency of usage, familiarity, and reproduction and insurance costs.

10.15 – 10.30
Claus-Christian Carbon: An approach to unify the different appeals of digital, analog and digital-analog hybrid art in a universal Theory of Aesthetics

Aesthetics is an emerging field of research, but still, a framework to unify different approaches is missing. It is questionable if any attempt to follow the attempt to create an overarching theory is possible at all, facing all the dimensions aesthetics employs and affects. Here, I would like to develop a first facet of such a theory that solely addresses a tiny but relevant part of aesthetic phenomena related to the specific appeal of digital vs. analog and digital-analog hybrid art. It tackles the seemingly paradoxical finding that digital technology can produce perfectionized realistic images without effort, which often lack aesthetic appeal, but can also use reduced imperfectionized images that gain appeal. Meanwhile, analog depictions often gain appeal by perfectionizing their quality while losing aesthetic quality when doing too much in this direction. Any aesthetic theory that ignores Zeitgeist, elaboration effects, and idiosyncratic experience and associations will not be able to predict individual aesthetic appeal. Lessons learned from developing a theory from this narrow perspective already make clear how ill-defined any universal theory of aesthetics is that praise the artwork as a static object that is perceived in a determinate way.

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.30 Talk Session: Aesthetic Preferences
11.00 – 11.15
Elisabeth Van der Hulst: ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ — on the value of genetic algorithms in empirical aesthetics

“What makes something beautiful?”. This question has been captivating researchers in empirical aesthetics for centuries. Many attempts have been made to solve this question, but contradictions remain. Some researchers focus on low-level features (e.g., anisotropy), whereas others focus on high-level features (e.g., art style) as predictors of aesthetic appreciation. Although both approaches have led to insightful results, mid-level features (i.e. Gestalt features) have often been neglected in this discussion. The link between order, complexity and aesthetics exemplifies the importance of the mid-level as a key towards unraveling beauty.
One of the main statements of Gestalt psychology is “the whole is more/different than the sum of its parts”. In aesthetics, this results in a “Gestalt nightmare” (Makin, 2017), referring to the seemingly endless set of context features, which cannot be investigated separately. To remediate this problem, in the present study, we introduce genetic algorithms, that are based on the principles of natural selection and use crossover and mutation to find an optimal solution to a problem. We employ multi-element displays with a large set of parameters, both low-level features referring to the ‘parts’ (e.g., size, hue…), as well as pattern features describing the formation of a ‘whole’ (e.g., repetition, congruency…). Over 100 generations, the parameters of the presented stimuli evolve due to participants’ selection of beauties and beasts (i.e., the most and least liked image in a set).
Even preliminary analysis already reveals that the separate, low-level parameters do not have consistent effects on liking. Therefore, we approach the data in two more ways. First, in a computational approach we use machine learning to predict parameter value combinations that lead to ‘liked’ or ‘disliked’ stimuli. Second, we investigate how different parameter combinations lead to different levels and types of order and complexity, and whether these mid-level features can predict aesthetic appreciation.

11.15 – 11.30
Hong Nguyen: ‘Attentional transplants’ cause recipients to like images similarly to donors: Evidence for inter-observer commonalities in how attention drives preferences

When different people view a scene, they attend to different things, and these differences in attention in turn influence how much they like the scene they are viewing. Patterns of attention may be highly individually specific. However, the effects of these different patterns of attention on preferences may not be. Here we demonstrate this, using a new method of ‘attentional transplants’. We show that, if an observer likes an image, it is possible to transplant their viewing pattern into another observer—and that this causes the recipient to like the image better, compared with transplanting the viewing pattern of a donor who disliked the image. In Experiment 1, 50 observers viewed images of landscapes by using their cursor to move a small circular viewing window around each image for three seconds. After viewing an image, they rated how much they liked it. For each image, we identified two ‘attentional donors’—the Liked-it-Most observer who rated the image highest (normalized relative to their other image ratings) across observers, as well as the Liked-it-Least observer who rated the image lowest across observers. In Experiment 2, we recruited 100 new observers to serve as ‘attentional recipients’. These observers viewed each image, but now passively, through a moving window which reproduced the viewing pattern of either the Experiment 1 observer who Liked it Most, or the observer who Liked it Least. Recipients gave substantially higher ratings to an image when they received the viewing pattern of the observer who Liked it Most, compared to when they received the viewing pattern of the observer who Liked it Least. From this, we conclude that individual differences in preferences for scenes are partly explained by differences in how we attend—but that there are important similarities across observers in how these patterns of attention then drive preferences.

11.30 – 11.45
Tammy-Ann Husselman: Mechanisms underpinning the impact of aesthetic appeal

What is the role of bottom-up visual processes in artistic appreciation? We have investigated this by measuring the importance of complexity and meaningfulness (conceptual fluency) in aesthetic judgements. In our preliminary study, we presented participants with 195 images of street artworks online and asked them to rate the complexity and meaningfulness of each one. From these data, we created three image categories varying in both complexity and meaningfulness: Low, Medium, and High. In two subsequent experiments, participants were asked to gaze at 27 selected artworks (9 from each category) while their Electroencephalogram (EEG) alpha (8-12 Hz) absolute power was measured across 21 electrodes. Afterwards, we collected subjective reports of aesthetic appreciation, arousal, and pleasantness states. Analysis revealed different patterns of alpha power across image categories with the T3, T5, and T6 electrodes (Experiment 1) and the T3, O1, and O2 electrodes (Experiment 2). Across both experiments, there was also a linear increase in subjective reports of aesthetic appreciation, arousal, and pleasantness states with increasing complexity/meaningfulness. Differences in alpha power between “initial” and “reflective” viewing times were found in most EEG channels in Experiment 2. Together, these findings suggest that different levels of complexity and meaningfulness are linked with different alpha activity patterns, which, in turn, are associated with cortical locations thought to be linked with inner monologues and visual attention networks.

11.45 – 12.00
Johan Wagemans: Gestalts Relate Aesthetic Preferences to Perceptual Analysis: An outline of the GRAPPA project

“De gustibus et coloribus non disputandum est.” With this slogan philosophers and lay people alike have dismissed all attempts to understand taste, color perception, or aesthetic preferences. Sense of beauty may just be too individual and too complex to qualify as target of scientific inquiry. Yet, since Fechner (1876), empirical aesthetics has studied the factors determining people’s aesthetic responses to art works and objects, scenes or events encountered in everyday life. Most accounts focus either on high-level concepts such as style, meaning and personal associations, or on low-level statistical properties. While the latter are supposed to be universal and biologically determined, the former are subject to cultural influences, art expertise and individual experiences. Progress in this tradition has reached its limits, which I propose to try to overcome by investigating how Gestalts relate aesthetic preferences to perceptual analysis. The pioneering working hypothesis of my research program called “GRAPPA” is that the way perceivers organize their sensory inputs into meaningful entities (Gestalts) provides the missing link between the two traditional sets of explanations. This hypothesis will be fleshed out and tested in a coherent research program linking aesthetic preferences for images of paintings and everyday photographs to general principles of perceptual organization as well as to specific aesthetic concepts like composition, balance and visual rightness. New data from online studies with large samples of images and participants will be analyzed with state-of-the-art computational methods (machine learning) to reveal the critical mid-level factors. This will yield a model to predict aesthetic preference, which will be tested in well-controlled psychophysical and behavioral experiments (e.g., eye-movement recording) and validated also in ecologically richer settings (e.g., in galleries and art museums) and in unconventional cross-over collaborations with contemporary artists. I will sketch the different steps in broad strokes to enable further discussion of the challenges.

12.00 – 12.15
Young-Jin Hur: Can fashion aesthetics be studied empirically? The preference structure of everyday clothing choices

Fashion is one of the most common and accessible (aesthetic) activities in everyday life, yet still missing in the literature is a systematic study on clothing preferences. Therefore, the present study, recently published in Empirical Studies of the Arts, explored whether a preference structure of clothing style can be established and whether this clothing preference structure can be further understood through clothing colour (e.g. hue, brightness, & saturation) and individual differences (e.g. personality & demography). Based on an online survey consisting of 500 participants, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed a four-factor preference structure, the Everyday Clothing Preference Factors (ECPF). The preference structure consisted of feminine (e.g. dresses, skirts, lingerie, tights, & blouses, etc.), essential (e.g. shirts, jackets, trousers, & chinos, etc.), comfortable (e.g. hoodies, joggers, sweatpants, & sweatshirts, etc.), and trendy (e.g. dungarees & boiler suits) styles. The findings further revealed that the preference for each of these clothing styles was correlated with certain colour preferences and individual differences. The findings provide an important theoretical building block in the understanding of the intricate dynamics involved in everyday clothing behaviours. The study of fashion preference provides especially significant importance in the growing field of empirical aesthetics and preference research, where fashion was rarely examined before. Practically, the findings may inform retail marketing practices and sustainable fashion, as they may facilitate a further understanding of the mechanisms of fashion consumption.

12.15 – 12.30
Ronald Hübner: An empirical study of the beauty of different types of spirals

Spirals are common both in nature and in culture. They were created by humans as early as 11,000 BC and appeared independently in different places. Spirals are not only important for mathematics and natural sciences, but also play a popular role as motifs in art and design. Meanwhile, various types of spirals have been identified or invented, often claimed to be more or less beautiful. However, when we searched for empirical studies that examined the perceived beauty of different types of spirals, we found almost nothing. This motivated us to conduct our own study. We constructed Archimedean, general Archimedean, logarithmic, golden, and Fibonacci spirals and used them as stimuli in an online study. For each type, we had multiple versions that differed in size and number of loops. Participants had to rate how beautiful they found the different spirals on a visual analog scale. As a result, there were large differences in beauty ratings between the different spirals. To investigate possible characteristics of the spirals that could be responsible for the differences in beauty ratings, we looked at the size of the spirals, their arc length, their number of loops, and their curvature. It turned out that the variance in curvature explained most of the variance in ratings. Why the variance of curvature might be a relevant characteristic of spirals is discussed and related to other results in empirical aesthetics.

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break

13.30 – 15.00 Symposium: Curvature Effect
13.30 – 13.45
Nicole Ruta: Explaining the curvature effect

Preference for curvature, the curvature effect, seems to transcend cultures, species and stimulus kinds. However, its nature and psychological mechanisms remain obscure because studies often overlook the complexity of contour characterisation and disregard personal and contextual factors. To investigate the curvature effect, we propose a continuous and multidimensional manipulation and contrasting experimental conditions examined at the group and individual levels that unveil a complex picture, not reducible to monotonous relationships: Perceptual and hedonic evaluations relied on multiple geometric features defining contour and shape. These features were specifically weighted to characterise each construct, depending on the individual and contingent on whether evaluating perceptually or hedonically. Crucially, the curvature effect was not robust to preference with respect to the median and continuous manipulations of contour for varying shapes. As curved contours are more easily perceived and processed than polygons, we hypothesised that perceived contour might explain liking for a figure beyond the effect of geometric features, finding that this association was subordinated to shape categorisations. Finally, domain-specific, personality and cognitive-preference traits moderated how people used each geometric feature in their perceptual and hedonic evaluations. We conclude that research on perception and appreciation of contour and shape should factor in their complexity and defining features. Additionally, embracing individual sensitivities opens potential avenues to advance the understanding of psychological phenomena. In summary, our approach unpacks a complex picture of contour preference that prompts critical reflections on past research and advice for future research, and it is applicable to other psychological constructs.

13.45 – 14.00
Erick Gustavo Chuquichambi: What drives object preference? Perceptual and categorical differences in object processing

Visual properties affect object preferences. Such preferences are often predicted by properties such as contour, complexity, weight, familiarity, or interestingness among others. In this study, we examined to what extent the effects of these properties in preference judgments can be generalized across different object categories. Stimuli consisted of a diverse image set of pairs of chairs and tables with curvilinear and rectilinear designs. We used a gist statistics algorithm to confirm that the stimuli set shared comparable gist statistics within categories. A pre-liminary experiment indicated that the stimuli differed in perceived contour, complexity, weight, familiarity, and interestingness. In Experiment 1, participants rated their liking to each object, while their eye movements were recorded during 2000 ms using an EyeLink 1000. In Experiment 2, another group of participants rated their liking to each object in both short (84 ms) and until-response display times. Experiment 1 results revealed different effects of perceptual properties and object categories on liking and eye movements. Specifically, higher liking ratings were found with more interesting, familiar, and heavier objects. In contrast, visual processing was mostly modulated by object categories. While participants’ response time was shorter and the number of fixations was greater for chairs than tables, the effect of perceptual properties was limited to the interaction between object category and contour on mean fixation duration. Experiment 2 results revealed higher liking ratings with more curvilinear and interesting objects but only in short display times. Overall, these results suggest that perceptual properties and object category play distinct roles in subjective preference and visual processing.

14.00 – 14.15
Enric Munar: Museum visitors prefer paintings with curved shapes

Observers prefer some paintings more than others due to a mixture of aesthetic, emotional and cultural experiences. Some of these experiences are based on the perception of specific features in the paintings. A fundamental dimension underlying deep structure in the visual perception is the presence or absence of edges or contours in the images. Over the course of the last two decades, contour has been a widely studied perceptual attribute in the field of visual preference, specifically curved vs sharp-angled contours. In this study, our main objective was to test whether the effect of preference for curvature was also present with original paintings in a museum context as we previously found using digital images of the same paintings in the lab (Ruta et al., 2021). We used a collection of 48 paintings divided into 16 sets with three versions in each set: one curved, one sharp-angled, and one mixed, with all other variables controlled. We carried out measures of liking, implicit wanting, and explicit wanting. We performed two studies in two different museums. In Study 1 data were collected from 55 participants on handheld tablets and 103 participants recorded their responses in booklets in Study 2. Both studies showed that participants liked the curved versions significantly more than the sharp-angled versions and reported wanting them more. They also looked at the curved versions from a closer position than the sharp-angled versions, which we used as an implicit measure of approachability. Our findings suggest that similar processes and mechanisms affect the aesthetic judgements of and preferences for both artistic and non-artistic stimuli. We also conclude that contour curvature is an important perceptual factor in people’s aesthetic judgements about real paintings displayed in an ecological context.

14.15 – 14.30
Letizia Palumbo: Individual differences in the curvature effect with abstract stimuli and interior design

Visual preference for smooth curvature, as opposed to angularity, has been documented for a variety of stimuli, participant groups, primate species, and different tasks. However, the universality of preference for curvature has been questioned in a recent meta-analysis of 61 studies (Chuquichambi et al., 2022). Among other factors, individual differences as well as the type of stimuli moderate the effect. In this research we examined preference for curvature in three different groups of participants using abstract stimuli and pictures of interior design. Specifically, we examined visual preference for curvature in high functioning autism (ASD=16), in matched (for age, gender and IQ) neurotypical individuals (NT=20) and in a group of quasi-expert students of design (QE=24). We employed abstract shapes with different contours (angular vs. curved), and a set of coloured lines (angular vs. curved) presented through a circular or square aperture. Finally, we showed interior design environments varying for Appearance (curvilinear vs. rectilinear), Ceiling (high vs. low) and Space (enclosed vs. open). Participants indicated like or dislike and whether they would enter, or exit, the presented spaces if these were real rooms (approach/avoidance). Preference for curvature was confirmed with abstract stimuli with all groups of participants. However, the magnitude of the effect diminished in the ASD group as compared to the NT group. Interestingly, quasi-experts reported a higher proportion of “likes” for rectilinear as compared to curvilinear designs. These findings are discussed in relation to the role played by individual differences, including expertise, and the impact of specific dimensions of the stimuli in determining participants’ preferences.

14.30 – 14.45
Jurate Rimiskyte: The enchanting aesthetic effect of transformation on curved and angular stimuli

The purpose of this project is to investigate how aesthetic preferences for “transformation” and “smoothness” interact with one another to determine aesthetic preferences. There is evidence that when stimuli are dynamic, the stimuli tend to be preferred over quiescent stimuli (Soranzo et al., 2018; Wright & Bertamini, 2015) and that curved stimuli tend to be preferred over angular stimuli (“smooth curvature effect”, Bertamini et al., 2015). However, it is possible that factors interact, and a smooth transformation may strengthen the advantage of smooth stimuli if static and dynamic smoothness factors tap related mechanisms. For this purpose, two computer-based experiments were conducted, in which participants were required to evaluate the aesthetic appeal of stimuli displayed on the screen. In experiment I, stimuli consisted of abstract static polygons differing in type of contour (angular vs. curved) and number of vertices (22 and 26). In Experiment II, the same stimuli as Experiment I were used, and transformation was added in terms of smooth expansion or smooth shrinkage. To make the size of the polygons comparable to those of Experiment I, the polygons expanded and shrank to the same degree. As a result, the average visible size of the polygons was the same as the size of the static polygons. Results confirmed both the transformation and the smoothness effects. These results are discussed considering Graf and Landwehr (2015)’s “Dual process fluency-based aesthetic” model which shows how “positive fluency discrepancy” adds aesthetic value.

14.45 – 15.00
Jiwon Song: Greater preference for curved 3D shapes in practical experts

Among single factors influencing aesthetic preference in the perceptual processing stage, curvature stands out as having a substantial body of robust empirical evidence across age, culture, and species (Gómez-Puerto et al., 2018). Recent studies have examined whether the preference for curvature extends to experts. Although it has been reported that experts also prefer curved shapes to angular ones, it remains unclear whether their degree of preference for curvature differs from that of non-experts. The inconsistency might be due to variabilities in expert groups and types of stimuli. Here, we investigated whether experts prefer curvature over angularity and whether the degree of curvature preference differs across expert groups (i.e., non-experts, theoretical experts, and practical experts). In addition, we examined whether the preference for curvature derives from perceptual sensitivity to curvature. We generated geometric 3D shapes that were rendered by a parametric shape model and were not limited to any specific domain of expertise. The curvature of geometric 3D shapes was manipulated into 5 levels via linear interpolation. Participants viewed video clips of each 3D shape and rated their preference and perceived complexity for the shape. Results showed that people generally prefer curved shapes regardless of the expert groups, replicating the previous findings. Of more relevance to our purpose, people with more practical expertise showed a greater preference for curved shapes. It was also demonstrated that the aesthetic preference of practical experts reflected their perceptual sensitivity. These results suggest that the degree of curvature preference varies according to the presence and type of expertise, implying that the properties of stimulus and perceiver interact from the early perceptual processing stage of aesthetic appreciation.

15:00 – 15:30 Coffee Break

15:30 – 17:00 Posters and Artworks

17:00 – 18:30 Talk Session: Faces, Body and Identity
17.00 – 17.15
Joana Pereira Seabra: Can drawing expertise impact face perception? Neuroimaging evidence for differences between artists and non-artists.

Drawing is essential for many artists and a core element of academic artistic education. Students of Fine Arts universities go through extensive drawing-from-life training, becoming proficient in it. Expertise in most areas leads to improved performance and, for some activities, neural differences. In fields like dance, music and shooting, experts exhibited higher alpha power in EEG experiments compared to non experts. Academic drawing training includes figure drawing and portraiture. Students are therefore frequently engaged in tasks that involve face perception in a context of high attentional demand. When assessing neural responses to face perception tasks, EEG researchers often look into N170 amplitude – it is an event-related potential particularly responsive to faces and has been shown to be sensitive to the degree of abstraction, simplification and incompleteness of facial depictions.
We hypothesized that the visual artists’ drawing expertise might be evidenced by increased alpha during drawing. Moreover, given the focus on portraiture, we also investigated whether visual artists might have enhanced face perception abilities by looking into their N170 responses.
In this EEG study, we compared 15 visual artists and 15 non-artists during a drawing task (an expertise-specific activity) and a face perception task (a common process, non-expertise-specific). Alpha power and the N170 ERP were measured, respectively. The face perception task included different levels of completeness (by excluding the eyes, mouth and/or nose) to test whether the artists would be more responsive to these.
Artists displayed significantly stronger alpha power than non-artists while drawing (p =0.004). During the face perception task, the N170’s amplitude appears to be more pronounced in artists (p =0.068), but no interaction effect was found between the groups and completeness levels. These results suggest that frequent drawing practice has the potential lead to differences in neural responses during an expertise-related activity, and to modulate face perception.

17.15 – 17.30
Christina Krumpholz: Is it a match? How voice and face contribute to overall attractiveness in online settings and real-life dating

Research has found evidence for audiovisual integration in several fields related to human social interactions, including speech, identity recognition, and emotion recognition. Surprisingly, few studies have examined audiovisual integration of attractiveness judgments. Are judgements based on sound (i.e., voices) and judgements based on visual information (i.e., faces) combined when assessing overall person attractiveness? If so, what is the predictive value of each modality? We defined several possible outcomes: a) one modality is the better predictor, b) overall attractiveness results from an integrative process of both modalities, or c) overall attractiveness cannot be modelled by any of the modalities. To address this question, we conducted an online experiment (Study 1) using participant-created video material; and a field study (Study 2) using real-life interactions. In Study 1, participants first judged person attractiveness based on information from either audio recordings or muted video recordings, and second based on information from an audiovisual video (i.e., voice and face in an online-experiment. In Study 2, we included a speed-dating event where participants met a subset of the individuals they previously rated. Here they interacted with each other for 4 minutes and judged person attractiveness again, using all information available from a real-life interaction. We found that in both settings, online and real-life, voice and face were significant predictors of overall person attractiveness. However, our results suggest a different integration in online evaluations than in real-life evaluations. Together, these studies clarify the relative contributions of faces and voices to person attractiveness judgements and, furthermore, allow us to compare results from online experiences with real-life encounters. Moreover, exploratory analyses emphasize the importance of attractiveness research by showing strong correlations between attractiveness evaluations and speed-dating

17.30 – 17.45
Stefanie De Winter: Art has no gender, only gender bias

The current study investigated whether gender could be distinguished in a set of Abstract Expressionist paintings (N = 160) by an equal number of female (Krasner, Frankenthaler, Mitchell, Hartigan) and male (Pollock, Louis, Twombly, Kline) artists. The study consisted of three experiments and was performed by three separate groups of participants (total N = 800). In Experiment 1, participants judged whether the artwork was painted by a female or male artist and then reported whether their decision was based on colour, line, or composition of the artwork. In Experiment 2, participants assessed each work according to thirty-two characterisations drawn from art criticism, while in Experiment 3 they indicated their aesthetic appreciation for the artworks. Results showed that, overall, participants were significantly more likely to judge that the artworks were painted by males, regardless of the actual gender of the artist (χ2= 266.3, df = 1, p < 0.001). Participants relied significantly more on colour when judging artworks as painted by females, compared to line and composition (χ2= 697.5, df = 14, p < 0.001), in line with image feature analysis showing that women artists used more warm colours than men (F(1,152) = 7.78, p < 0.01). Contrary to the art critics’ view of female Abstract Expressionist art in the 1960s, artworks by women were rated higher on masculine attributes and lower on feminine attributes than the ones made by their male colleagues (beta = -0.31, t(2551) = -3.98, p < .001). Finally, liking, complexity, pleasure and order ratings of artworks made by women were not significantly different from those by men (all post-hoc comparisons: p > .05). Across the three experiments, we provide evidence that viewers have a male gender bias towards paintings’ authorship, although the artists’ gender is not a significant contributor to the appreciation of Abstract Expressionist paintings.

17.45 – 18.00
Tobiasz Trawiński: Spectatorship of paintings depicting White and Black sitters. The effect of implicit racial bias on aesthetic response

Our previous research in face perception has established a possible link between eye movements, individuation experience, and implicit racial bias of other-race faces. However, it remains unclear to what extent implicit racial bias and individuation experience with other communities might influence spectatorship of paintings that depict other-race sitters. Here we examined how aesthetic experience gained during spectatorship of paintings that represent White and Black sitters might be modulated by viewer’s individuation experience and implicit racial bias. Sixty-six participants viewed ten artworks at their own pace at the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, while their eye movements were recorded. Participants completed a set of rating scales measuring their aesthetic response to the artwork, as well as the implicit association test (IAT), a questionnaire on individuation experience towards White and Blacks, and an art interest questionnaire after viewing artworks. The results showed that participants found paintings depicting Black sitters more interesting, emotionally moving, and pleasurable than those depicting White sitters. More importantly, while the aesthetic response to the artworks depicting White sitters was not predicted by implicit racial bias and individuation experience, the aesthetic response to the artworks depicting Black sitters was negatively predicted by increased positive bias towards Black people. This effect was modulated by an interaction between individuation experience and implicit bias, predominantly with observers who reported high individuation experience with Black people. Our findings reveal the complexity of perceptual and socio-cognitive influences on the spectatorship of paintings representing other communities. The results are discussed in terms of the functional role of viewer’s experiences and attitudes when adopting an aesthetic mode of attention in real-world settings.

18.00 – 18.15
George Themistokleous: The Digital Punctum: Simulated body double(s) and the sensory shock

Photography, as Barthes points out, made it possible for the self to experience an incompossible co-presence through the splitting of consciousness and identity when the self confronts herself as an other, a spectre. According to Barthes, this happens only through the immediate relation between the photographic viewer and the represented subject. The ‘punctum’ is the defining element in a photograph that triggers an affective state in the viewer. This rupture induces a ‘superimposition of reality and of the past’ (2000, 76).
The notion of the analog photographic punctum, as developed by Roland Barthes, is now transposed to the wide ranging applications of the digitized photographic image. The custom-made interactive media installation of my own making, called the diplorasis, produces a re-‘vision’ of the punctum. Within the installation the digitization of the photograph is integrated with-in a ‘live’ feed. By producing live and unexpected stereo- photographic images of the participant within the mediated environment of the diplorasis, a punctum is induced in the participant. In the diplorasis the viewer tries to adapt to the re-duplicated environment that produces a paradoxical splitting between one’s body and the body-image in space-time. A multiplicity of incompossible presents alter the causal actual-virtual relations in this interactive experience. One enters into a more expanded connection with virtual elements, as she tries to adapt to multiple self-images that appear from an out-of-body perceptual viewpoint.
Barthes’s punctum is a rupture that induces a ‘superimposition of reality and of the past’ (2000, 76) through the photographic image. Yet as photography has become embedded in our lives, the possibility for it to trigger this affective state has become diluted. The impact of the analog photographic punctum has now faded with the assimilation of photography in everyday life. Instead, the punctum effect has now shifted to new formats of digital imaging.

18.15 – 18.30
Joanna Ganczarek: Cognitive challenge when viewing contemporary art: Behavioural and postural reactions

Contemporary art often challenges viewers by disrupting standard methods of representation. It has been shown that this cognitive challenge can stem from both artworks content (e.g., semantic violations), and context (e.g., consistent and inconsistent titles). In our previous studies we investigated eye movements when viewing paintings with and without semantic violations and found that semantic violations and inconsistent titles are challenging for viewers, influencing the eye movements behaviour (Ganczarek et al., 2020; 2022). The aim of the current study was to explore postural control responses to challenging processing of contemporary art. The participants (N=100, without expertise in visual arts) viewed 20 contemporary paintings (10 with semantic violations and 10 without semantic violations) under one of three randomly assigned experimental conditions: image alone (untitled), images accompanied by consistent or by inconsistent titles. Participants viewed each painting for 25 seconds whilst standing on a force plate recording their postural sway at 100 Hz. Participants were asked to assess each painting and their reactions to them on the following variables: understanding, complexity, ambiguity, being moved-by, being drawn-towards, and liking. The results confirmed previous findings that images with semantic violations and inconsistent titles were related to high cognitive challenge (i.e., low understanding, high complexity and ambiguity). We also found that the cognitive challenge did not have a significant effect on the measures of postural control. However, semantic violations were related to a more variable body sway in the anterio-posterior direction, and inconsistent titles were related to less variable body sway in the medio-lateral direction. Also, recurrence quantification analysis revealed lower predictability, complexity and stability of body sway when viewing paintings with inconsistent titles compared to consistent titles. Our results suggest that viewing art involves the whole body and that artworks’ content and titles have different effects on the dynamic organization of postural control.

19:00 – 21:00 Dinner at Sedirhan restaurant at Buyuk Han