The Role of Art Expertise on Visual Symmetry and Asymmetry Preference

Proceedings of ‏The 12th International Conference on Humanities, Psychology and Social Sciences

Year: 2021


[Fulltext PDF]

The Role of Art Expertise on Visual Symmetry and Asymmetry Preference

Borbála Tamás, Andrea Barta,and István Szamosközi



The main differences between artists and non-artists can be discovered in information processing, drawing performance and aesthetical preferences. Aesthetical preference is influenced by stimulus complexity and by the symmetry-asymmetry dimension of the presented stimulus. Although the differences between artists and non-artists are clear regarding aesthetical evaluation, there are evidence supporting the assumption that symmetry is preferred over asymmetry regardless of domain specific knowledge. In the current study we investigated the role of expertise in visual art on aesthetical evaluation of symmetrical and asymmetrical, simple, and complex geometrical forms, using visual stimuli based on Jacobsen and Höfel (2001). Participants from art high- school and university have been gathered (N = 56) and were distributed into three separate groups by their visual art and art history experience (experts, novice, and medium experience). Our main result shows a significant effect of experience in visual art on aesthetical preference, participants in the expert group preferred complex asymmetrical stimuli more compared to participants in art novice group. Asymmetrical simple and complex forms were aesthetically preferred more by expert group than the two other groups. We also found that symmetrical forms are preferred over asymmetrical ones regardless of level of expertise in art, however preference of art experts tends to be more unified over stimulus complexity. Our results are in line with results from previous studies regarding symmetry- asymmetry preference. We can conclude that beside the general preference for symmetrical forms, experience in art alters asymmetry preference and it regulates the preference over simple- complex symmetrical and asymmetrical stimuli.

Keywords: art expertise, symmetry- asymmetry preference, geometrical forms.