Presentation Title

The Aesthetics of Chinese Calligraphy Judged by Non-Chinese-Reading Students

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 302-92

Type of Presentation

Poster

Abstract

Chinese calligraphy is thought to be one of the most beautiful sets of language characters in the world, but it is unknown what aspects of form determine the beauty of one character over another. In our study, we attempted to answer this question by measuring how aspects of character form itself influenced aesthetic ratings given by non-Chinese readers. In our study, 32 participants rated the beauty of 36 Chinese characters on a Likert scale of 1-8. Characters were presented in random order and in four styles to each participant, meaning that, in total, each participant made 144 ratings. Characters were presented in black text in front of a white background, and remained on the screen until a rating was given. We used quantitative methods to measure 6 aspects of each character including the number of strokes and the vertical and horizontal centering and balance of each character. We then regressed attractiveness ratings against these measures, using separate models for each of the four character styles. Our results showed a significant positive correlation between strokes and ratings for all four styles, meaning that the more strokes were needed to form the character, the more beautiful the character was rated. Interestingly, we also found that each style had a unique combination of other form elements that predicted beauty, suggesting that participants may have applied different standards depending on the style of the character. These results may suggest an important interaction between style and the standards used to assess the beauty of form.

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Nov 12th, 1:00 PM Nov 12th, 2:00 PM

The Aesthetics of Chinese Calligraphy Judged by Non-Chinese-Reading Students

HUB 302-92

Chinese calligraphy is thought to be one of the most beautiful sets of language characters in the world, but it is unknown what aspects of form determine the beauty of one character over another. In our study, we attempted to answer this question by measuring how aspects of character form itself influenced aesthetic ratings given by non-Chinese readers. In our study, 32 participants rated the beauty of 36 Chinese characters on a Likert scale of 1-8. Characters were presented in random order and in four styles to each participant, meaning that, in total, each participant made 144 ratings. Characters were presented in black text in front of a white background, and remained on the screen until a rating was given. We used quantitative methods to measure 6 aspects of each character including the number of strokes and the vertical and horizontal centering and balance of each character. We then regressed attractiveness ratings against these measures, using separate models for each of the four character styles. Our results showed a significant positive correlation between strokes and ratings for all four styles, meaning that the more strokes were needed to form the character, the more beautiful the character was rated. Interestingly, we also found that each style had a unique combination of other form elements that predicted beauty, suggesting that participants may have applied different standards depending on the style of the character. These results may suggest an important interaction between style and the standards used to assess the beauty of form.