The neural time course of art perception : An ERP study on the processing of style versus content in art

Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Augustin, Dorothee; Defrenceschi, Birgit; Fuchs, Helene K.; Carbon, Claus-Christian  ; Hutzler, Florian
Title of the Journal: Neuropsychologia : an international journal
ISSN: 0028-3932
Publisher Information: Oxford : Elsevier Science
Year of publication: 2011
Volume: 49
Pages: 2071-2081
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.03.038
A central prerequisite to understand the phenomenon of art in psychological terms is to investigate the nature of the underlying perceptual and cognitive processes. Building on a study by Augustin, Leder, Hutzler, and Carbon (2008) the current ERP study examined the neural time course of two central aspects of representational art, one of which is closely related to object- and scene perception, the other of which is art-specific: content and style. We adapted a paradigm that has repeatedly been employed in psycholinguistics and that allows one to examine the neural time course of two processes in terms of when sufficient information is available to allow successful classification. Twenty-two participants viewed pictures that systematically varied in style and content and conducted a combined go/nogo dual choice task. The dependent variables of interest were the Lateralised Readiness Potential (LRP) and the N200 effect. Analyses of both measures support the notion that in the processing of art style follows content, with style-related information being available at around 224ms or between 40 and 94ms later than content-related information. The paradigm used here offers a promising approach to further explore the time course of art perception, thus helping to unravel the
Keywords: Art perception
Type: Article
Year of publication: 18. September 2013