Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Open Access The gist of beauty: An investigation of aesthetic perception in rapidly presented images

Download Article:
(PDF 7,917 kb)
While a work of art can evoke an aesthetic experience, the same can apply to a grand ballroom or a sunset. Like fine art, everyday scenes contain aesthetic qualities, with some scenes being preferred over others. The general meaning of a scene, known as scene gist, is extracted rapidly and automatically, with just a brief glance, mainly from the low spatial frequency information in the image. We asked whether such rapid and coarse overall representation also allows for a stable aesthetic impression. In a series of experiments, we investigated to what extent intrinsic (image type) and extrinsic (temporal and spatial resolution) factors affect the aesthetic response to real-world images. We varied these factors in different groups of participants who rated sets of images for aesthetic pleasure. Here we show that aesthetic responses are extracted rapidly, consistently and automatically with just a glance at scene. Moreover, participants preferred natural scenes over urban or indoor scenes, at both rapid and unlimited exposures. This pattern of preference interacted significantly with self-similarity and anisotropy, two image statistics previously shown to correlate with aesthetic response to artworks. The results presented here allow for a deeper understanding of the aesthetic response to our every-day surroundings.
No References for this article.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 29, 2017

More about this publication?
  • For more than 30 years, the Electronic Imaging Symposium has been serving those in the broad community - from academia and industry - who work on imaging science and digital technologies. The breadth of the Symposium covers the entire imaging science ecosystem, from capture (sensors, camera) through image processing (image quality, color and appearance) to how we and our surrogate machines see and interpret images. Applications covered include augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, machine vision, data analysis, digital and mobile photography, security, virtual reality, and human vision. IS&T began sole sponsorship of the meeting in 2016. All papers presented at EIs 20+ conferences are open access.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more