Nicki R M, Gale A, 1977, "EEG, measures of complexity, and preference for nonrepresentational works of art" Perception 6(3) 281 – 286
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EEG, measures of complexity, and preference for nonrepresentational works of art
Richard M Nicki, Anthony Gale
Received 25 October 1976
Abstract. With a heterogeneous sample of human subjects, alpha abundance, an inverse function of cortical arousal, was found to increase with greater complexity of a series of 18 nonrepresentational works of art. This finding is contrary to those of previous EEG studies with artificially generated stimuli, which showed increased arousal with increasing complexity; but is consistent with those which reveal an inverted-U-shaped relation between arousal and complexity when the range of complexity sample is broad. That is, at higher levels of complexity, subjects may be less able to process the information content of paintings. Ratings of interestingness and pleasingness increased with complexity; it may be that they are dependent to some extent on social learning factors.
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