Subjective time perception is affected by different durations of exposure to abstract paintings that represent human movement

Francisco Carlos Nather, Paola Alarcon Monteiro Fernandes, José Lino Oliveira Bueno
2014 Psychology and Neuroscience  
Time perception can be affected by real emotional pictures of people that evoke different levels of arousal. Figurative artwork images of body postures that imply movement with different intensities and evoke different levels of arousal can modulate the perception of time. The present study investigated whether abstract paintings that represent motion in different ways affect the perception of time when subjects are exposed to the paintings for different durations. Undergraduate students
more » ... d 20 abstract paintings from different artistic schools (i.e., cubism, constructivism, expressionism, and futurism). They observed for 3 s each painting and estimated the time of exposure (reproduction method). After the time estimations, the subjects completed different semantic Movement, Arousal, Complexity, and Recognition scales to obtain information about how the painting compositions were perceived. Time distortions were observed for only two cubist paintings that represented human forms, which were related to both evoked arousal and implied movement (Experiment 1). Experiment 2 further verified whether these time distortions were related to implied movement perception or arousal. Different groups of participants were exposed for 3 and 9 s to only four cubist paintings that represented human forms. These time exposures (3 and 9 s) were used because the arousal-evoking effects may be transient for exposure times that are longer than 2-3 s. The data analysis revealed overestimation of time for the cubist painting that had greater arousal and movement scores only when the subjects were exposed for 9 s, showing that implied movement in abstract human figures is more effective than images with emotional content. We discuss the effect of durations of exposure to pictorial characteristics of artwork on time perception, emphasizing aspects of the visual perception of human forms in cubist paintings and arousal effects in an aesthetic episode.
doi:10.3922/j.psns.2014.046 fatcat:gwl3rbkuqbag5cyyptaf7qxndi