Reading and writing direction effects on the aesthetic perception of photographs

Abstract

Does the habitual reading and writing direction (RWD) affect the aesthetic appreciation of visual art? Pérez González (2012) showed that 19th century Iranian and Spanish professional photographers manifest lateral biases linked to RWD in their compositions. The present study aimed to test whether the general public shows similar biases. Photographies with left-to-right (L-R) and right-to-left (R-L) directionality were selected and presented in both the original and mirror reversed forms to Spanish and Moroccan participants. In Experiment 1, participants rated each picture as to how aesthetically pleasing it was. The results showed no interactions with RWD. In Experiment 2, we presented each picture and its mirror version and asked the participants to choose which one they liked better. Now, clear biases linked to RWD arose. RWD does affect aesthetic impressions of photography in the general public, but only when people are paying attention to the lateral spatial dimension of the pictures.


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