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For whom is a picture worth a thousand words? How does the visualizing cognitive style affect processing of news photos?
Unformatted Document Text:  Processing of news photos 9 Perceptions of photographs In the previous section, we examined a possible processing link between cognitive styles and picture memory. This section will examine how people who differ in visualizing and verbalizing perceive visual information. No research in visualizing/verbalizing cognitive styles has examined differences in picture perceptions. Research in psychological aesthetics, however, does examine perceptual ratings of visual images. Berlyne (1973; 1974, 1975; see also Cupchik, 1986; Cupchik & Berlyne, 1979; Ertel, 1973) has written extensively about those properties of an image that transcend its content. A common method used in Berlyne’s work is to have participants rate various visual stimuli, such as meaningless visual patterns, line drawings of animals, and reproductions of paintings, on a series of semantic differential items and then factor-analyze the responses to reveal at higher order dimensions. His studies consistently reveal three superordinate perceptual characteristics on which visual stimuli are evaluated: hedonic value or interest, visual complexity, and arousal. More recent work on news photographs examines a separate typicality factor (Mendelson, 2001; Thorson & Mendelson, 1996). While there have been no studies that link visualizing or verbalizing levels to how people perceive visual images, some studies have examined how people of different levels of artistic training (an ability as opposed to a cognitive style) differ in their perceptions of visuals. Hare (1974) had a fine arts group and a nonartistic group (psychology majors) rate a variety of visual patterns on three scales: simple/complex, displeasing/pleasing, and uninteresting/interesting. He found the two groups did not differ in how they perceived the visuals. On the other hand, Winston and Cupchik (1992) had two groups that differed in artistic training (no art course or ten or more art courses) rate a series of high art and popular art paintings. The results showed that the artistic group rated the high art as more complex than the popular art, but did not rate either

Authors: Mendelson, Andrew.
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background image
Processing of news photos
9
Perceptions of photographs
In the previous section, we examined a possible processing link between cognitive styles
and picture memory. This section will examine how people who differ in visualizing and
verbalizing perceive visual information. No research in visualizing/verbalizing cognitive styles
has examined differences in picture perceptions. Research in psychological aesthetics, however,
does examine perceptual ratings of visual images. Berlyne (1973; 1974, 1975; see also Cupchik,
1986; Cupchik & Berlyne, 1979; Ertel, 1973) has written extensively about those properties of an
image that transcend its content. A common method used in Berlyne’s work is to have
participants rate various visual stimuli, such as meaningless visual patterns, line drawings of
animals, and reproductions of paintings, on a series of semantic differential items and then
factor-analyze the responses to reveal at higher order dimensions. His studies consistently reveal
three superordinate perceptual characteristics on which visual stimuli are evaluated: hedonic
value or interest, visual complexity, and arousal. More recent work on news photographs
examines a separate typicality factor (Mendelson, 2001; Thorson & Mendelson, 1996).
While there have been no studies that link visualizing or verbalizing levels to how people
perceive visual images, some studies have examined how people of different levels of artistic
training (an ability as opposed to a cognitive style) differ in their perceptions of visuals. Hare
(1974) had a fine arts group and a nonartistic group (psychology majors) rate a variety of visual
patterns on three scales: simple/complex, displeasing/pleasing, and uninteresting/interesting. He
found the two groups did not differ in how they perceived the visuals. On the other hand,
Winston and Cupchik (1992) had two groups that differed in artistic training (no art course or ten
or more art courses) rate a series of high art and popular art paintings. The results showed that
the artistic group rated the high art as more complex than the popular art, but did not rate either


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