Context effects on beauty ratings of photos: Building contrast effects that erode but cannot be knocked down.

Cody Tousignant, Glen Bodner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aesthetic value of photos is often evaluated alongside other photos (art galleries, photo albums). We examined the direction, duration, and resilience of the influence of a set of context photos on beauty ratings for a subsequent set of critical photos. Beauty ratings for a set of average-beauty photos of buildings were higher after viewing a set of low-beauty (vs. high-beauty) photos, regardless of whether the context photos depicted the same, similar, or different thematic content. This contrast effect persisted when participants were asked to avoid being influenced by the context photos, when the context photos were processed in a nonaesthetic task, and when the context and critical photos were made to seem more similar. Although we could not "knock down" these contrast effects, they "eroded" across the critical block as the groups' recent experiences became more similar. Implications of our findings for theories of contrast/assimilation and aesthetics are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Aesthetic evaluations
  • Context effects
  • Contrast and assimilation effects
  • Range-frequency model
  • Selective-accessibility model

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