Neuroticism, schizotypy, and scale anchors influence eye movement behaviour in the visual exploration of abstract art: An exploratory study

Alison Simpson, Nicole A. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The same piece of artwork can attract both admiration and rejection from different people. One potential explanation for this effect is individual differences in perceptual biases, which influence the way in which we see different aspects of the same image. We explored the relationship between individual differences (i.e., personality) and eye movements for examinations of abstract art. Images were presented for 5000 ms, after which participants judged aesthetic appeal and perceived value using visual analogue scales. Scale anchor labels (Looks Good/Looks Bad; $0/$5000) were counterbalanced between participants such that positive labels were on the left half of the time and on the right half of the time. Overall, more fixations occurred to the right and upper visual fields. Neuroticism significantly predicted the proportion of fixations to the left, whereas cognitive disorganisation negatively predicted the proportion of fixations to upper space. Participants found images more aesthetically pleasing and more valuable when positive anchors were on the left. Findings demonstrate that personality traits influence fixation patterns. Further, the positioning of positive anchor labels on the left leads to higher ratings of visual stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalActa Psychologica
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Eye-tracking
  • Gaze
  • Laterality
  • Personality
  • Visual asymmetry

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