Hubner and Fillinger investigated how the apparent balance and stability of elements in images influenced how much they were liked. They determined that “for the multiple-element stimuli, there was a positive relation between balance/stability and liking. . . . each element in a picture has a certain visual ‘weight’ depending on its features like size, shape, and color (Arnheim, 1954). . . . a heavy weight located on one side of the fulcrum can be balanced by a lighter weight positioned further away on the other side. . . .
Townsend and Barton link our current responses to various sorts of trees to our experiences as a young species. Their review of existing research indicates “that humans across the globe find broad spreading tree form beautiful. This form recalls the trees of the ancient African savanna where our species evolved.” The researchers also report that their work leads to predictions that “humans prefer sleeping on the second story, elevated off the ground, because we associate elevation off the ground with safety. . . .
Places where children feel safe
Kids and adults have similar preferences
Benoit and colleagues investigated how product type influences responses to retail store options. They determined that in on-the-go situations, “For goods easy to evaluate (search good; can of Coke), a [retail] format’s price level and speed are more important; For goods hard to evaluate (experience good; e.g., salad), quality, variety, atmosphere, and service are more important. . .
Greenery at universities, indoors and out, has positive implications. Researchers presented study participants with digital photographs of “lecture hall[s], classroom[s], study area[s], university outdoor space[s]. For each of the three indoor spaces there were four or five stimuli conditions: (1) the standard design (2) the standard design with a colorful poster (3) the standard design with a nature poster (4) the standard design with a green wall (5) the standard design with a green wall plus interior plants.
Social factors relevant
Levitan, Winfield, and Sherman evaluated responses to representational visual art and found, not surprisingly, that people prefer paintings whose subject matter they like. The Levitan team reports that “Prior research has demonstrated that color preferences are driven by preferences for objects associated with those colors (e.g., that the sky is blue or that feces are brown influences preferences for blue and brown; Palmer & Schloss, 2010). . . .
Controlling without disrupting seems best
Some options are clearly better than others