Schloss K B, Palmer S E, 2011, "The role of spatial organization in preference for color pairs" Perception 40(9) 1063 – 1080
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The role of spatial organization in preference for color pairs
Karen B Schloss, Stephen E Palmer
Received 10 April 2011, in revised form 12 August 2011
Abstract. We investigated how spatial organization influences color-pair preference asymmetries: differential preference for one color pair over another when the pairs contain the same colors in opposite spatial configurations. Schloss and Palmer (2011, Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 73 551 – 571) found weak figure – ground preference asymmetries for small squares centered on large squares in aesthetic ratings. Here, we found robust preference asymmetries using a more sensitive forced-choice task: participants strongly prefer pairs with yellower, lighter figures on bluer, darker grounds (experiment 1). We also investigated which spatial factors influence these preference asymmetries. Relative area of the two component regions is clearly important, and perceived 3-D area of the 2-D displays (ie after the ground is amodally completed behind the figure) is more influential than 2-D area (experiment 2). Surroundedness is not required, because yellowness – blueness effects were comparable for pairs in which the figure was surrounded by the ground, and for mosaic arrangements in which the regions were adjacent and separated by a gap (experiment 3). Lightness – darkness effects, however, were opposite for figure – ground versus mosaic organizations: people prefer figure – ground organizations in which smaller regions are lighter, but prefer mosaic organizations in which smaller regions are darker. Physiological, phenomenological, and ecological explanations of the reported results are discussed.
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