Presentation-order effects for aesthetic stimulus preference

Atten Percept Psychophys. 2012 Oct;74(7):1499-511. doi: 10.3758/s13414-012-0333-9.


For preference comparisons of paired successive musical excerpts, Koh (American Journal of Psychology, 80, 171-185, 1967) found time-order effects (TOEs) that correlated negatively with stimulus valence-the first (vs. the second) of two unpleasant (vs. two pleasant) excerpts tended to be preferred. We present three experiments designed to investigate whether valence-level-dependent order effects for aesthetic preference (a) can be accounted for using Hellström's (e.g., Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 5, 460-477, 1979) sensation-weighting (SW) model, (b) can be generalized to successive and to simultaneous visual stimuli, and (c) vary, in accordance with the stimulus weighting, with interstimulus interval (ISI; for successive stimuli) or stimulus duration (for simultaneous stimuli). Participants compared paired successive jingles (Exp. 1), successive color patterns (Exp. 2), and simultaneous color patterns (Exp. 3), selecting the preferred stimulus. The results were well described by the SW model, which provided a better fit than did two extended versions of the Bradley-Terry-Luce model. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed higher weights for the second stimulus than for the first, and negatively valence-level-dependent TOEs. In Experiment 3, there was no laterality effect on the stimulus weighting and no valence-level-dependent space-order effects (SOEs). In terms of the SW model, the valence-level-dependent TOEs can be explained as a consequence of differential stimulus weighting in combination with stimulus valence varying from low to high, and the absence of valence-level-dependent SOEs as a consequence of the absence of differential weighting. For successive stimuli, there were no important effects of ISI on weightings and TOEs, and, for simultaneous stimuli, duration had only a small effect on the weighting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Color Perception*
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Esthetics*
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Music*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychophysics
  • Young Adult