Skin conductance and aesthetic evaluative responses to nonrepresentational works of art varying in symmetry
Skin conductance was recorded as 11 subjects judged the aesthetic potential of abstract works of art and their single- and double-axis symmetrical transformations. It was found that the more structurally complex asymmetrical originals elicited higher levels of arousal than the less complex single-axis symmetrical transformations, which elicited greater arousal than the double- axis transformations. Subjects’ ratings of the hedonic value of the compositions were directly related to the arousal increment gained from viewing the stimuli. The results are discussed in terms of Berlyne’s (1960) theory of aesthetic behavior regarding the relationship among complexity, arousal, and hedonic value.