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Title:Attention to Attributes of Paintings by Subjects Trained and Untrained in the Visual Arts: A Multidimensional Scaling Study
Author(s):Maitland-Gholson, Jane C.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Art
Abstract:A key component contributing to the goals of visual arts education is a clearer understanding of the complex perceptual and cognitive processes involved in viewing and responding to a work of art. Researchers with a variety of interests have explored many factors affecting response: for example, age, personality, conceptual complexity and classification into stylistic categories. Of further interest to the visual arts researcher is isolation of specific dimensions of painting style given attention by viewers. One method of investigating these questions, multidimensional scaling (MDS), has shown promise. In this study, identification of specific dimensions of attributes of painting that capture the attention of viewers, both trained and untrained in the arts, was sought.
Subjects were 25 undergraduate students not majoring in Art (untrained in Art) and 21 seniors and graduate students majoring in Art Education (trained in Art). Two sets of 16 slides, one of paintings by Monet, the other of non-objective works from the Twentieth Century, were the stimuli. Subjects made pairwise similarity judgments on all possible pairs of the 16 slides in each stimuli set. In addition, subjects rated each slide in both slide sets on 16 bipolar scales designed to aid in interpretation of dimensions.
Similarity judgments were analyzed using SINDSCAL, an MDS program which produces Euclidean representation of perceived distances between stimuli; dimensions of attributes drawing the attention of subjects were interpreted. In addition, SINDSCAL produced "Weight Spaces" in which individual subjects' weighting of each dimension in their decision-making were shown. The bipolar scale ratings were analyzed using multiple regression to identify relationships between the scalar ratings and coordinates of stimuli configurations created by MDS.
It was found that dimensions of attributes of non-objective paintings drawing the attention trained viewers were: painterliness, complexity and color. Untrained viewers attended to geometric quality, complexity and angularity. It was found that dimensions of attributes of representational Monet paintings drawing the attention of trained viewers were: painterliness, intensity, and degree of realism. Untrained viewers attended to subject matter, degree of realism and color. In addition, in some cases, when both trained and untrained viewers attended to the same dimension, it was not given the same weight by the two groups in their decision-making.
Implications for further research point to a need for maximizing differences between trained and untrained groups and possible application of these techniques in developmental research.
Issue Date:1984
Description:153 p.
Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8502231
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1984

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