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Hemispheric processes in the perception of art

Coney, J. and Bruce, C. (2004) Hemispheric processes in the perception of art. Empirical Study of the Arts, 22 (22004). pp. 181-200.

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Known differences in visual processing between the cerebral hemispheres imply the possibility of lateral asymmetry in aesthetic evaluation of art. In a test of this proposition, 40 participants were asked to indicate their preference for paintings projected to the left or right visual field. The stimuli were selected from representative works drawn from eight different European schools of art ranging from the 15th to 20th centuries. An overall right visual field preference was found for the paintings. A principal components analysis revealed that participants evaluated the paintings in terms of two distinct groups: older realistic art and more recent abstract art. The right visual field preference was found to apply only to abstract art. This finding is interpreted in terms of selective activation of each side of the brain resulting in the generation of asymmetrical affective states which influence aesthetic judgments.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Baywood Publishing
Copyright: The Author
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