Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 279–286 | Cite as

Novelty, complexity, and hedonic value

  • D. E. Berlyne


Two experiments, in which Ss were exposed to sequences of colored shapes, investigated effects on ratings of “pleasingness” and “interestingness” of variables that had previously been shown to affect ratings of “novelty.” The results indicate, on the whole, that both pleasingness and interestingness increase with novelty. These findings run counter to those of experiments indicating an inverse relation between novelty and verbally expressed preference. Two further experiments examined effects of some variables that might account for this apparent discrepancy. Homogeneous sequences declined in judged “pleasantness” more than sequences in which several stimuli were interspersed, and simple stimuli became less pleasant as they became less novel, while complex stimuli declined less or became more pleasant. The findings are related to hypotheses regarding mechanisms of hedonic value. Two crucial predictions were confirmed in a fifth experiment.


Linear Component Complex Stimulus Sequence Class Simple Stimulus Heterogeneous Sequence 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. E. Berlyne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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