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    The aesthetics of verticality: a gravitational contribution to aesthetic preference

    Gallagher, M. and Ferrè, Elisa Raffaella (2018) The aesthetics of verticality: a gravitational contribution to aesthetic preference. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71 (12), pp. 2655-2664. ISSN 1747-0218.

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    Verticality plays a fundamental role in the arts, portraying concepts such as power, grandeur, or even morality; however, it is unclear whether people have an aesthetic preference for vertical stimuli. The perception of verticality occurs by integrating vestibular-gravitational input with proprioceptive signals about body posture. Thus, these signals may influence the preference for verticality. Here, we show that people have a genuine aesthetic preference for stimuli aligned with the vertical, and this preference depends on the position of the body relative to the gravitational direction. Observers rated the attractiveness of lines that varied in inclination. Perfectly vertical lines were judged to be more attractive than those inclined clockwise or anticlockwise only when participants held an upright posture. Critically, this preference was not present when their body was tilted away from the gravitational vertical. Our results showed that gravitational signals make a contribution to the perception of attractiveness of environmental objects.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Verticality, aesthetic preferences, gravity, Aubert effect
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Elisa Raffaella Ferre
    Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 15:16
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:12


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