Symmetry and Balance as Factors of Aesthetic Appreciation : Ethel Puffer’s (1903) "Studies in Symmetry" Revised

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Symmetry and balance are basic concepts in art theory for the composition of pictures. It is assumed that well-balanced pictures are preferred to unbalanced ones. One of the first experimental studies to test this assumption was conducted more than a century ago by Ethel Puffer. By applying a production method, she found little evidence for the hypothesis that balance is favorable for the aesthetical appreciation of pictures. Instead, she observed that other construction principles competing with balance, such as bilateral symmetry and closeness, were applied. The aim of the present study was to repeat some of Puffer’s experiments with modern methods and to examine whether her results are replicable. In two experiments, we also found little to no evidence for balance. Moreover, as in Puffer’s study, participants used closeness and bilateral symmetry as principles. However, compared to that study, the relative frequency of use of these principles was quite different.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache
Fachgebiet (DDC)
150 Psychologie
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empirical aesthetics; preference; symmetry; balance; composition
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ISO 690HÜBNER, Ronald, Katja THÖMMES, 2019. Symmetry and Balance as Factors of Aesthetic Appreciation : Ethel Puffer’s (1903) "Studies in Symmetry" Revised. In: Symmetry. 2019, 11(12), 1468. eISSN 2073-8994. Available under: doi: 10.3390/sym11121468
BibTex
@article{Hubner2019-12-02Symme-48040,
  year={2019},
  doi={10.3390/sym11121468},
  title={Symmetry and Balance as Factors of Aesthetic Appreciation : Ethel Puffer’s (1903) "Studies in Symmetry" Revised},
  number={12},
  volume={11},
  journal={Symmetry},
  author={Hübner, Ronald and Thömmes, Katja},
  note={Article Number: 1468}
}
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