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. 2016 Nov;45(11):1240-1266.
doi: 10.1177/0301006616654159. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Geometrical Factors in the Perception of Sacredness

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Geometrical Factors in the Perception of Sacredness

Marco Costa et al. Perception. .

Abstract

Geometrical and environmental factors in the perception of sacredness, dominance, and attractiveness were assessed by 137 participants in five tests. In the first test, a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm was used to test the perception of sacredness, dominance, and attractiveness in geometrical figures differing in shape, verticality, size, and symmetry. Verticality, symmetry, and convexity were found to be important factors in the perception of sacredness. In the second test, participants had to mark the point inside geometrical surfaces that was perceived as most sacred, dominant, and attractive. The top and the center areas were associated with sacredness, dominance, and attractiveness. In the third test, peaks and elevated regions in landscapes were evaluated as more sacred, dominant, and attractive than valley regions. In the fourth test, three figures sharing the same area but differing in horizontal and vertical orientation were evaluated on eight scales. The vertical figure was evaluated as more sacred, dominant, and attractive than the horizontal figure. The fifth test demonstrated the significant role of space seclusion and inaccessibility in the perception of sacredness. Geometrical factors in the perception of sacredness, dominance, and attractiveness were largely overlapping.

Keywords: accessibility; attractiveness; dominance; geometrical shapes; perception of sacredness; prospect-refuge; verticality.

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