Elementi di precognizione estetica: risultati di un esperimento di percezione estetica condotto su Facebook


An experiment of aesthetic perception conducted on Facebook, during which thousands of artwork images were posted on the most popular social network, has showed that the aesthetic preferences expressed by the users increased regularly when certain compositional elements were present inside the artworks. Exploiting the like/share system, on which Facebook is based, it was observed that – in a virtual context of aesthetic appreciation, such as the bidimensional and non-immersive environment of the Net, in which we can browse through desktop or mobile devices – users are induced to react in the same way towards specific visual stimuli: the presence of particular aesthetic markers within the artwork images would be able to induce the onset of aesthetic pleasure in the perceivers, driving the aesthetic preferences towards some artworks rather than others. In fact, the viewers seemed to be influenced by specific aesthetic features, responding in the same way when identical visual stimuli were replicated. The recurrence of the aesthetic preferences by the users towards artwork images endowed with specific visual characteristics, has allowed to identify the sensitive hedonic items, that is the specific compositional elements (or visual features) present inside the artworks, able to activate the aesthetic pleasure in the viewers and to influence their aesthetic preferences. According to the findings of this research, as well as the latest studies in the field of Neuroaesthetics, it is possible to assume that the viewer's aesthetic judgment about an artwork could not be completely subjective, but objectively determined by a specific neural matrix of aesthetic pleasure, that would be "sensitive" and responsive to specific aesthetic markers present inside the artworks. If the hypothesis of a neurobiological basis of aesthetic pleasure were confirmed, it would be possible to "predict" the aesthetic preferences of the viewers faced with an artwork not only displayed on pc, tablet and smartphone screen, or in a Virtual Reality setting, but also in real environment (e.g. museum or art gallery): this assumption has been called Aesthetic Precognition.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i17201632vxixn34p13

Keywords: Aesthetic Perception; Visual Aesthetics; Empirical Aesthetics; Neuroaesthetics; Psychology of Art; Facebook

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