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Van de Cruys S.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Wagemans J.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
i-Perception | Year: 2011

The predictive coding model is increasingly and fruitfully used to explain a wide range of findings in perception. Here we discuss the potential of this model in explaining the mechanisms underlying aesthetic experiences. Traditionally art appreciation has been associated with concepts such as harmony, perceptual fluency, and the so-called good Gestalt. We observe that more often than not great artworks blatantly violate these characteristics. Using the concept of prediction error from the predictive coding approach, we attempt to resolve this contradiction. We argue that artists often destroy predictions that they have first carefully built up in their viewers, and thus highlight the importance of negative affect in aesthetic experience. However, the viewer often succeeds in recovering the predictable pattern, sometimes on a different level. The ensuing rewarding effect is derived from this transition from a state of uncertainty to a state of increased predictability. We illustrate our account with several example paintings and with a discussion of art movements and individual differences in preference. On a more fundamental level, our theorizing leads us to consider the affective implications of prediction confirmation and violation. We compare our proposal to other influential theories on aesthetics and explore its advantages and limitations. © 2011 S Van de Cruys, J Wagemans.

Demeyer M.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | De Graef P.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Wagemans J.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Verfaillie K.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
Journal of Vision | Year: 2010

Stimulus displacements coinciding with a saccadic eye movement are poorly detected by human observers. In recent years, converging evidence has shown that this phenomenon does not result from poor transsaccadic retention of presaccadic stimulus position information, but from the visual system's efforts to spatially align presaccadic and postsaccadic perception on the basis of visual landmarks. It is known that this process can be disrupted, and transsaccadic displacement detection performance can be improved, by briefly blanking the stimulus display during and immediately after the saccade. In the present study, we investigated whether this improvement could also follow from a discontinuity in the task-irrelevant form of the displaced stimulus. We observed this to be the case: Subjects more accurately identified the direction of intrasaccadic displacements when the displaced stimulus simultaneously changed form, compared to conditions without a form change. However, larger improvements were still observed under blanking conditions. In a second experiment, we show that facilitation induced by form changes and blanks can combine. We conclude that a strong assumption of visual stability underlies the suppression of transsaccadic change detection performance, the rejection of which generalizes from stimulus form to stimulus position. © ARVO.

Sassi M.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Vancleef K.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Machilsen B.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Panis S.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Wagemans J.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
i-Perception | Year: 2010

Using outlines derived from a widely used set of line drawings, we created stimuli geared towards the investigation of contour integration and texture segmentation using shapes of everyday objects. Each stimulus consisted of Gabor elements positioned and oriented curvilinearly along the outline of an object, embedded within a larger Gabor array of homogeneous density. We created six versions of the resulting Gaborized outline stimuli by varying the orientations of elements inside and outside the outline. Data from two experiments, in which participants attempted to identify the objects in the stimuli, provide norms for identifiability and name agreement, and show differences in identifiability between stimulus versions. While there was substantial variability between the individual objects in our stimulus set, further analyses suggest a number of stimulus properties which are generally predictive of identification performance. The stimuli and the accompanying normative data, both available on our website (http://www.gestaltrevision.be/sources/gaboroutlines), provide a useful tool to further investigate contour integration and texture segmentation in both normal and clinical populations, especially when top-down influences on these processes, such as the role of prior knowledge of familiar objects, are of main interest. © 2010 M Sassi, K Vancleef, B Machilsen, S Panis, J Wagemans.

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