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The aesthetic quality model: complexity and randomness as foundations of visual beauty by signaling quality

Krpan, Dario ORCID: 0000-0002-3420-4672 and van Tilburg, Wijnand A.P. (2022) The aesthetic quality model: complexity and randomness as foundations of visual beauty by signaling quality. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. ISSN 1931-3896

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Identification Number: 10.1037/aca0000511


Visual complexity has been identified as a fundamental property that shapes the beauty of visual images. However, its exact influence on beauty judgments, and the mechanism behind this influence, remain a conundrum. In the present article, we developed and empirically evaluated the Aesthetic Quality Model, which proposes that the link between complexity and beauty depends on another key visual property—randomness. According to the model, beauty judgements are determined by an interaction between these two properties, with more beautiful patterns featuring comparatively high complexity and low randomness. The model further posits that this configuration of complexity and randomness leads to higher beauty because it signals quality (i.e., creativity and skill). Study 1 confirmed that black and white binary patterns were judged as more beautiful when they combined high complexity with low randomness. Study 2 replicated these findings using an experimental method and with a more representative set of patterns, and it pointed to quality attribution as a candidate mechanism underlying the beauty judgements. Studies 3 and 4 confirmed these findings using experimental manipulation of the mechanism. Overall, the present research supports the aesthetic quality model, breaking new ground in understanding the fundamentals of beauty judgment.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2022 American Psychological Association
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2022 08:42
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2022 10:36

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