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Towards a psychology of photography: Dimensions underlying aesthetic appeal of photographs
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. (Berglund)
2007 (English)In: Perceptual and Motor Skills, ISSN 0031-5125, E-ISSN 1558-688X, Vol. 105, no 2, 411-434 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With the aim to contribute to the development of a psychology of photography, this study examined what attributes are the major determinants of aesthetic appeal of photographs. Two interlinked experiments were conducted with 564 photographs having a wide range of motifs. Exp. 1 consisted of sorting by aesthetic appeal and adjective generation. In Exp. 2, attribute scaling was collected. Multidimensional scaling analysis of the photographs yielded three dimensions identified with the aid of attribute scales combined with measures of the manifest content of the photographs. The three dimensions were Hedonic Tone-Familiarity, Absence of color, and Expressiveness-Dynamics. The present results suggested that participants' familiarity with the photographs, the types of photographs (Color or Black & White), and the photographs' dynamics all affected participants' judgments of aesthetic appeal. Hedonic Tone and Expressiveness apparently mediated the participants' judgments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 105, no 2, 411-434 p.
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19762ISI: 000251076100009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-19762DiVA: diva2:186286
Available from: 2007-11-16 Created: 2007-11-16 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Aesthetic Appreciation Explicated
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aesthetic Appreciation Explicated
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present doctoral thesis outlines a new model in psychological aesthetics, named the Information-Load Model. This model asserts that aesthetic appreciation is grounded in the relationship between the amount of information of stimuli and people’s capacity to process this information. This relationship results in information load, which in turn creates emotional responses to stimuli. Aesthetic appreciation corresponds to an optimal degree of information load. Initially, the optimal degree is relatively low. As an individual learns to master information in a domain (e.g., photography), the degree of information load, which corresponds to aesthetic appreciation, increases.

The present doctoral thesis is based on three empirical papers that explored what factors determine aesthetic appreciation of photographs and soundscapes. Experiment 1 of Paper I involved 34 psychology undergraduates and 564 photographs of various motifs. It resulted in a set of 189 adjectives related to the degree of aesthetic appreciation of photographs. The subsequent experiments employed attribute scales that were derived from this set of adjectives. In Experiment 2 of Paper I, 100 university students scaled 50 photographs on 141 attribute scales. Similarly, in Paper II, 100 university students scaled 50 soundscapes on 116 attribute scales. In Paper III, 10 psychology undergraduates and 5 photo professionals scaled 32 photographs on 27 attribute scales. To explore the underlying structure of the data sets, they were subjected to Multidimensional Scaling and Principal Components Analyses. Four general components, related to aesthetic appreciation, were found: Familiarity, Hedonic Tone, Expressiveness, and Uncertainty. These components result from the higher-order latent factor Information Load that underlies aesthetic appreciation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2011. 136 p.
Keyword
Aesthetic Appreciation, Information-Load Model, Photographs, Soundscapes, Theory Development
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-53385 (URN)978-91-7447-214-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-03-04, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-02-10 Created: 2011-01-22 Last updated: 2011-02-07Bibliographically approved

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http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pms.105.2.411-434

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