Not all views produce the same effects
Seeing eyes alters thoughts and behaviors
Reactions to images depend on what we're told about them
A comprehensive, technical review of an important topic
How do image content and hue influence our emotional response to what we’re looking at? Kuzinas and colleagues set out to answer this question by showing people photographs of urban and nature scenes, either in their original states or modified to be in grayscale, red, or green: “natural content [images showing nature] elicited more positive and less arousing emotions compared to the urban one [images showing urban places]. Green images were less arousing compared to red ones, and original images [those appearing in their original colors] elicited the most pleasant emotions.
Viewing images supports training
Research by Lauring and his team confirms that multiple factors influence evaluations of art and that art has a special, social role. They found that when participants in their study “were primed [i.e., led to think] that a certain social group (fellow students, art museum curators/art experts, or low-education/income youth) had rated the painting positively or negatively (social prime, . . .) or with a fictitious sales price of the artwork (monetary prime) . . . . Paintings with high monetary primes or with high ratings by peers and art experts led to higher participant liking ratings.
Research indicates that seeing certain sorts of sculptures influences what we eat. Stampfli and Brunner share that previous studies have determined that seeing “Thin, human-like sculptures by the artist Alberto Giacometti . . . facilitate[s] dieting by reducing chocolate intake and promoting healthy snack choices. . . . [In this study, however] the sculptures reduced chip intake only when the participants liked the chips. The sculptures could thus exert their influence when individuals were motivated to eat and the dieting cues were useful.”
Pearce and his team carefully detail variations in aesthetic evaluations across time and place, indicating how experiences have, and will, differ. For example, “in non-Western societies, aesthetics generally encompasses a broader range of activities and objects than in Western societies, and it is more closely related to the communication of spiritual, ethical, and philosophical meaning than in the Western tradition. . . .
Friedrich and Elias’s recent work confirms that people whose native languages are read left to right prefer art in which any apparent motion is also from left-to-right. The researchers “examined aesthetic preferences in native Hindi (left-to-right) and Urdu (right-to-left) readers. These groups share extralinguistic and linguistic similarities, as well as a common geographical location and cultural foundation, reducing the potential influence of confounding cultural differences on aesthetic preference biases. Participants viewed mirror-imaged pairs of [images] . . .