When Complex Is Easy on the Mind: Internal Repetition of Visual Information in Complex Objects Is a Source of Perceptual Fluency

Yannick Joye*, Linda Steg, Ayca Berfu Ünal, Roos Pals

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

49 Citaten (Scopus)
627 Downloads (Pure)


Across 3 studies, we investigated whether visual complexity deriving from internally repeating visual information over many scale levels is a source of perceptual fluency. Such continuous repetition of visual information is formalized in fractal geometry and is a key-property of natural structures. In the first 2 studies, we exposed participants to 3-dimensional high-fractal versus low-fractal stimuli, respectively characterized by a relatively high versus low degree of internal repetition of visual information. Participants evaluated high-fractal stimuli as more complex and fascinating than their low-fractal counterparts. We assessed ease of processing by asking participants to solve effortful puzzles during and after exposure to high-fractal versus low-fractal stimuli. Across both studies, we found that puzzles presented during and after seeing high-fractal stimuli were perceived as the easiest ones to solve and were solved more accurately and faster than puzzles associated with the low-fractal stimuli. In Study 3, we ran the Dot Probe Procedure to rule out that the findings from Study 1 and Study 2 reflected differences in attentional bias between the high-fractal and low-fractal stimuli, rather than perceptual fluency. Overall, our findings confirm that complexity deriving from internal repetition of visual information can be easy on the mind.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)103-114
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftJournal of Experimental Psychology : Human Perception and Performance
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - jan.-2016

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