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Research on the development of aesthetic preference

Resource Type
Dataset : experimental data
  • Huang, Yi (School of Business and Management, Shanghai International Studies)
  • Lyu, Jinyun (Tsinghua University)
  • Peng, Kaiping (Tsinghua University)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • China Postdoctoral Science Foundation
Free Keywords
  • Abstract

    The data sets were deposited for the academic manuscript “Cognitive basis for the development of aesthetic preference: findings from symmetry preference”, which is currently under review in the journal of PLoS One.

    Specifically in this study, we investigated how children’s aesthetic preference established. We focused on the aesthetic preference to symmetry, which is a basic phenomenon exists across different cultures and human history, and had attracted a lot of scholars to explore its sources. In our previous study, we had found, however, this preference was not naturally exists for preschool young children, and had dissociated from early-emerging perceptual preference to symmetry in our previous study. In the current experiments, we designed a sticker matching game to further investigate how the interplay between perceptual preference to symmetry and visual exposure functions in building the aesthetic preference to symmetry. Three experiments were lent to answer the question, and the data sets were deposited for each of them.

    In experiment 1, we first let our children participants to play a sticker matching game, which contains either the symmetry or asymmetry pictures of non-figurative forms, to have the children got perceptual visual exposure. Then, we tested their aesthetic preference towards the pictures they had seen in the game by asking them to play a role of judge to decide which picture in a pair (containing one symmetry form and a counterpart asymmetry form) is more beautiful. We found children who exposed to symmetry showed significant aesthetic preference to symmetry, while children who exposed to asymmetry showed no significant aesthetic preference to any type of picture. Next, we tested whether children could recognize the pictures they had played with to check their perceptual sensitivity to the symmetry or asymmetry pattern. And the result showed four year old children indeed had symmetry patterns perceptual encoded better, and that’s maybe the reason for that the visual exposure increases the aesthetic preference to symmetry, in other words, showed mere exposure effect to symmetry, but not to asymmetry.

    In experiment 2, we want to confirm whether children’s aesthetic preference is due to the visual exposure, or is already exists without specific exposure. So another group of children was recruited and tested on their aesthetic preference with the same picture pairs (symmetry and asymmetry forms) directly without playing the sticker matching game. The results showed children on age didn’t show any aesthetic preference either to symmetry or asymmetry, which was in line with previous finding.

    In experiment 3, the tasks were the same with experiment 1, except children would perform the preference choice task and recognition task on the same type (symmetry or asymmetry) of pictures but not exactly the same ones they had seen in the sticker matching game. The results showed children who exposure to symmetry showed the exclusive exposure effect on building a symmetry aesthetic preference not only exists for familiar symmetric stimuli but could also be extended to other unexposed symmetric patterns.

    All participants (4 year old pre-school children) for each experiment were recruited from kindergartens in China, and the informed consents were obtained from parents before experiments. The deposited data sets included three parts. Part 1 is for experiment 1, part 2 is for experiment 2 and part 3 is for experiment 3. Each part contains all the data for the task performances mentioned above for each experiment.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2018-01-01 / 2019-04-01
    Time Period: Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2018--Mon Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2019
Geographic Coverage
  • China

Update Metadata: 2020-06-14 | Issue Number: 4 | Registration Date: 2020-06-14

Huang, Yi; Lyu, Jinyun; Peng, Kaiping (2020): Research on the development of aesthetic preference. Version: V0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.