Don’t be surprised if next season’s toys, books and nursery decor features Picasso-like images. A new study has found that babies prefer the bold, high contrast paintings of the Spanish master to the subtle soft strokes of France’s Monet.
Five different experiment seem to confirm that for 9-month-old critics, Picasso is the most interesting.
The studies’ lead author, University of Zurich psychologist Trix Cacchione, says that at just under a year, babies vision is much like that of adults, though the interpret the images differently.
“To an infant, a painting is most likely only a perceptual pattern and their aesthetic preferences are most likely guided by low-level functions of the visual system,” Cacchione said.
But the researchers wanted to know if the babies would favor one style of the other. They did. They also wanted to know what types of images they favored — abstract ones or nice landscapes.
In one experiment, 24 babies were shown images of Picasso’s landscape of “Juan-les-pin” and Monet’s “Poppy Field Near Giverny.” Preference was determined by how long the baby looked at each image. Babies who had been shown the Monet spent more time look at the Picasso. The interesting thing is that babies who had been showed other Picasso’s also looked at “Landscape” longer.
Another experiment was conducted the same way, only the images were shown in black and white. Who’d they stare at longer? Picasso, yet again.
Cacchione speculates that the Picasso’s were easier to process and, therefore, offered more stimulation to the growing brains. The study is in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
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