Effects of visual properties and individual differences on perceived beauty and intimacy in residential architecture

Pik Ki Ho, Gregor Hayn-Leichsenring

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Recent findings have established the role of simple visual properties in images of architecture in associated aesthetic evaluations and approach-avoidance decisions. There is, however, increasing evidence that individual differences modulate the effects of these properties, and studies involving small sample sizes may contribute to inconsistencies in results. The current study included a sample size of more than two thousand participants, including expert architects, architect students and non-experts, to investigate the inter-dependent relationships between visual features in scenes of indoor and outdoor architectural buildings and personality traits on ratings of aesthetic appeal and perceived intimacy. Results showed that the aesthetic ratings of indoor living spaces were most affected by space openness. Curvature and window-to-wall ratio were the main predictors of the aesthetic judgements of building exteriors, where non-experts and architecture students, but not experts, preferred curvilinear over rectilinear contours. Ratings of ‘agreeableness’ were associated with an aesthetic preference for buildings with low window-to-wall ratios while ratings of ‘openness’ were associated with a preference for relatively big windows. The perceived intimacy of these buildings, however, depended mainly on the level of extroversion, as well as visual features such as the height of the building, and some modulation by curvature and window-to-wall ratio. Lastly, curvature enhanced the perceived intimacy of buildings in non-experts only. Collectively, the results shed light on the complex relationship between aesthetic and affective judgements of the built environment and call for a closer collaboration between the disciplines of science and architecture in the study of aesthetics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventXXVI Conference of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics - Online, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20213 Sept 2021


ConferenceXXVI Conference of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics
Abbreviated titleIAEA 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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