Statistical regularities in art: Relations with visual coding and perception

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Since at least 1935, vision researchers have used art stimuli to test human response to complex scenes. This is sensible given the " inherent interestingness" of art and its relation to the natural visual world. The use of art stimuli has remained popular, especially in eye tracking studies. Moreover, stimuli in common use by vision scientists are inspired by the work of famous artists (e.g., Mondrians). Artworks are also popular in vision science as illustrations of a host of visual phenomena, such as depth cues and surface properties. However, until recently, there has been scant consideration of the spatial, luminance, and color statistics of artwork, and even less study of ways that regularities in such statistics could affect visual processing. Furthermore, the relationship between regularities in art images and those in natural scenes has received little or no attention. In the past few years, there has been a concerted effort to study statistical regularities in art as they relate to neural coding and visual perception, and art stimuli have begun to be studied in rigorous ways, as natural scenes have been. In this minireview, we summarize quantitative studies of links between regular statistics in artwork and processing in the visual stream. The results of these studies suggest that art is especially germane to understanding human visual coding and perception, and it therefore warrants wider study. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.




Graham, D. J., & Redies, C. (2010, July). Statistical regularities in art: Relations with visual coding and perception. Vision Research.

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