Tobiasz Trawinski, Liverpool Hope University PhD student
Understanding how paintings elicit cognitive responses in spectator’s gives an insight into human visual processing. Measures of gaze behaviour provide a useful online measure of spectatorship. In this talk, I will explore the relationship between portraits and other representational paintings properties and the eye movements made by naïve spectators. Portraiture is a genre of painting where sitters are painted, typically within a context. It was hypothesized that fixations would be made to sitter’s faces and this was supported. Paradoxically, the presence of salient features in the context amplified the focus on faces. The questions about role of the context in spectatorship process were explored further in a second study. I tested hypothesis whether visual features in the context provide the useful information for paintings memory. Surprisingly, it was found that spectatorship of context did not improve paintings recall. The results are discussed in terms of a model that emphasizes how stimulus and cognitive factors influence the spectatorship of paintings.