This image is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by Eline Van Geert.


Do individuals prefer stimuli that are ordered, complex, or striking the right balance between order and complexity? Earlier research mainly focused on the separate influence of order and complexity on aesthetic appreciation, or on rather specific types of order (i.e., balance or symmetry). Progress has also been limited by the lack of an easy way of creating reproducible and parametrically controlled stimulus sets, including both order and complexity manipulations. The Order & Complexity Toolbox for Aesthetics (OCTA), a Python toolbox currently under development, aims to fill this gap. It allows for the creation of stimulus patterns varying qualitatively and quantitatively in order and complexity, both based on unity and variety along multiple dimensions (e.g., position, shape, size, color, orientation) of the elements in the patterns. An additional benefit of OCTA is its flexibility: researchers with programming experience can use the available functions or specify additional functionality tailored to their own wishes, whereas researchers less familiar with programming can use the point-and-click interface that is provided.