VSAC 2019 - Aesthetic preferences for neatly organized compositions in Dutch- and Chinese-speaking samples: A cross-cultural comparison.


Do aesthetic preferences for images of neatly organized compositions – images as collected on blogs like Things Organized Neatly© – generalize across cultures? In this online study we compared preferences of a native Dutch-speaking (N = 356) and a native Chinese-speaking sample (N = 220). Participants indicated their preference for one of two concurrently presented images (100 pairs) and completed the Big Five Inventory as well as the Personal Need for Structure scale. Overall, aesthetic preferences were quite similar across cultures (r = .58, BF10 > 1000), and preferences related to differences in soothingness and order between the images in a pair for both Dutch-speaking and Chinese-speaking participants (for soothingness, rDutch = .57 and rChinese = .53, BF10 > 1000; for order, rDutch = .36 and rChinese = .33, BF10 > 1000). Some interesting differences were found as well, however. Chinese-speaking participants showed an additional preference for simplicity (r = .43, BF10 > 1000) and Dutch-speaking participants one for fascination (r = .58, BF10 > 1000). As fascination ratings of the images related positively with measures of order and complexity, whereas soothingness ratings related positively with order and negatively with complexity (Van Geert & Wagemans, under revision), these results hint at a cross-culturally consistent relationship between order and aesthetic appreciation, but a cross-culturally diverse link between complexity and appreciation. In addition, individual differences in preferences for complexity and fascination related positively with Openness to Experience and negatively with age in both the Dutch- and Chinese-speaking samples, indicating a cross-culturally consistent relationship.

Aug 22, 2019
Leuven, Belgium