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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2018 Feb;183:85-98. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.12.008. Epub 2018 Jan 18.

Neuroticism, schizotypy, and scale anchors influence eye movement behaviour in the visual exploration of abstract art: An exploratory study.

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College of Education, Psychology & Social Work, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. Electronic address:
College of Education, Psychology & Social Work, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia; College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia. Electronic address:


The same piece of artwork can attract both admiration and rejection from different people. One potential explanation for this effect is individual differences in perceptual biases, which influence the way in which we see different aspects of the same image. We explored the relationship between individual differences (i.e., personality) and eye movements for examinations of abstract art. Images were presented for 5000ms, after which participants judged aesthetic appeal and perceived value using visual analogue scales. Scale anchor labels (Looks Good/Looks Bad; $0/$5000) were counterbalanced between participants such that positive labels were on the left half of the time and on the right half of the time. Overall, more fixations occurred to the right and upper visual fields. Neuroticism significantly predicted the proportion of fixations to the left, whereas cognitive disorganisation negatively predicted the proportion of fixations to upper space. Participants found images more aesthetically pleasing and more valuable when positive anchors were on the left. Findings demonstrate that personality traits influence fixation patterns. Further, the positioning of positive anchor labels on the left leads to higher ratings of visual stimuli.


Attention; Eye-tracking; Gaze; Laterality; Personality; Visual asymmetry

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