Abstract

Jacobsen, T., & Höfel, L. (2003). Descriptive and evaluative judgment processes: behavioral and electrophysiological indices of processing symmetry and aesthetics. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 3(4), 289-299.

Descriptive and evaluative judgment processes: behavioral and electrophysiological indices of processing symmetry and aesthetics

Descriptive symmetry and evaluative aesthetic judgment processes were compared using identical stimuli in both judgment tasks. Electrophysiological activity was recorded while participants judged novel formal graphic patterns in a trial-by-trial cuing setting using binary responses (symmetric, not symmetric; beautiful, not beautiful). Judgment analyses of a Phase 1 test and main experiment performance resulted in individual models, as well as group models, of the participants' judgment systems. Symmetry showed a strong positive correlation with beautiful judgments and was the most important cue. Descriptive judgments were performed faster than evaluative judgments. The ERPs revealed a phasic, early frontal negativity for the not-beautiful judgments. A sustained posterior negativity was observed in the symmetric condition. All conditions showed late positive potentials (LPPs). Evaluative judgment LPPs revealed a more pronounced right lateralization. It is argued that the present aesthetic judgments engage a two-stage process consisting of early, anterior frontomedian impression formation after 300 msec and right-hemisphere evaluative categorization around 600 msec after onset of the graphic patterns.



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