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Informational and Affect Bases of Aesthetic Response

Ronald W. Neperud and Douglas G. Marschalek
Leonardo
Vol. 21, No. 3 (1988), pp. 305-312
Published by: The MIT Press
DOI: 10.2307/1578660
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1578660
Page Count: 8
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Abstract

The authors describe three experiments that examine the relationship between the amount of information in artworks and aesthetic response. Following Berlyne's views, an inverted U function should be obtained, i.e. a moderate amount of information would be most pleasing to the viewer. Informational density defined as amount of information was controlled through computer digitized manipulation of black-and-white art reproductions. Subjects included university students both with and without specific art training. Results tended to support a straight-line function of arousal (visual potency) ratings as associated with increasing informational density for untrained subjects, while an inverted U-shaped arousal curve in Berlyne's terms resulted for trained subjects. Continued application of information manipulation of art provides a useful technique for controlling and varying the visual structure of art in the study of aesthetic responses.

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