Seminari professore Chris McManus (UCL)

October 24th 8:30-10:00 a.m. Room 4P (PSICO 2)

A precise organisation of forms: Exploring the aesthetics of photography
Very few empirical studies of aesthetics use Fechner’s Method of Production, where
participants actually create aesthetic objects, mostly because of practical difficulties.
Photography provides a solution to that problem, most people taking photos,
recognising that some are better than others, and often having views on
composition. This talk will describe a number of studies on photography, particularly
considering the process of ‘cropping’ – choosing how to frame a part of the visual
world to produce the best result. Participants find cropping a natural and interesting
process, and, unusually, professionals are also happy to take part in studies.

October 25th 10.30 – 12.00 a.m. Room 4P (PSICO 2)

People differ: Individual differences in aesthetics
Perhaps the most quoted maxim about aesthetics is the Latin phrase, De gustibus
non est disputandum. The implication is that tastes differ so much between people
that there is no point in arguing about them. For experimental aesthetics, however,
the impression is sometimes that the precise opposite applies. Just as with many
other areas of psychology the emphasis in aesthetics is often primarily on the
commonalities, the similarities, across people, on what statistically are main effects,
rather than exploring the differences between people that are found statistically in
variances. This talk will consider approaches to answering the difficult question for
aesthetics, of why people differ in their tastes.