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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37285. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037285. Epub 2012 May 18.

When art moves the eyes: a behavioral and eye-tracking study.

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1
Research Unit on Theory of Mind, Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy. davide.massaro@unicatt.it

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate, using eye-tracking technique, the influence of bottom-up and top-down processes on visual behavior while subjects, naïve to art criticism, were presented with representational paintings. Forty-two subjects viewed color and black and white paintings (Color) categorized as dynamic or static (Dynamism) (bottom-up processes). Half of the images represented natural environments and half human subjects (Content); all stimuli were displayed under aesthetic and movement judgment conditions (Task) (top-down processes). Results on gazing behavior showed that content-related top-down processes prevailed over low-level visually-driven bottom-up processes when a human subject is represented in the painting. On the contrary, bottom-up processes, mediated by low-level visual features, particularly affected gazing behavior when looking at nature-content images. We discuss our results proposing a reconsideration of the definition of content-related top-down processes in accordance with the concept of embodied simulation in art perception.

PMID:
22624007
PMCID:
PMC3356266
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0037285
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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