The Presentation of Images: Effects on the Viewer’s Reaction

Reymond, Claire Marie Sarah. The Presentation of Images: Effects on the Viewer’s Reaction. 2022, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Psychology.


Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/88140/

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Background: Perceiving an image evokes a variety of reactions in the viewer. However, not only what is recognized in an image influences the perceiver, but also how an image is presented impacts the reaction to the image. To contribute to the understanding of the relationship between an image’s presentation and how this affects the reaction to it, is the aim of this doctoral thesis. To do so, over the course of three studies presented in the form of three manuscripts, we investigated the effect of a basic image feature (color saturation), the context in which an image is perceived, as well as the effect of image type (whether the image is presented as a photograph or a graphic representation) on the responses to an image.
Methods: In each manuscript, we followed a similar path of investigation: We manipulated a particular aspect of how an image is presented and examined the effects of that specific factor on the viewer’s response to the image. In each of the manuscripts presented here, we collected data on different responses to images: from directly measurable dimensions such as naming duration and correct naming, to liking, to more complex aesthetic responses, and to emotions perceived in an image. The design of each study was individualized to properly answer the research question.
Results: The results presented in the three manuscripts show that the color saturation—a basic image feature—and the context in which an image is presented influence responses to an image. More specifically, manipulated color saturation affects the liking as well as specific aesthetic reactions to digitally reproduced paintings, but to a different extent for art experts and lay people. We also showed that the affective interpretation of art photographs seen in the context of other photographs is influenced by the valence of these other photographs. But not only neighboring images lead to a change in judgment; The evaluation dimension also affects the emotion perceived in an image. However, whether an image is presented as photograph or graphic representation does not influence naming performance, especially when both types of images include favorable image properties such as color, texture, and shading.
Conclusion: The results presented in this thesis underline the importance of image presentation, as it influences reactions to images. This is also reflected in the practice of image making, where the focus is not only on the creation of the image itself, but likewise on its presentation. Moreover, our results show that not all the factors investigated and manipulated in our studies influence viewer responses in the way we expected. Similarly, in image practice, the designer often assumes—based on his or her expertise—that the viewer’s response can be implicitly predicted. However, the results of our studies show that this is not always the case. Therefore, there is a need to empirically investigate reactions to how an image is presented. Especially in visual communication, where an unambiguous message of the image is intended, the combination of practical image making and empirical investigations could be of added value.
Advisors:Opwis, Klaus
Committee Members:Renner, Michael
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Society & Choice > Allgemeine Psychologie und Methodologie (Opwis)
UniBasel Contributors:Opwis, Klaus
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:14680
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:35
Identification Number:
  • urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-bau-diss146800
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:28 Apr 2022 04:30
Deposited On:27 Apr 2022 07:47

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