The aesthetic appeal of minimal structures: Judging the attractiveness of solutions to traveling salesperson problems

Perception and Psychophysics 68 (1):32-42 (2007)
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Abstract
Ormerod and Chronicle reported that optimal solutions to traveling salesperson problems were judged to be aesthetically more pleasing than poorer solutions and that solutions with more convex hull nodes were rated as better figures. To test these conclusions, solution regularity and the number of potential intersections were held constant, whereas solution optimality, the number of internal nodes, and the number of nearest neighbors in each solution were varied factorially. The results did not support the view that the convex hull is an important determinant of figural attractiveness. Also, in contrast to the findings of Ormerod and Chronicle, there were consistent individual differences. Participants appeared to be divided as to whether the most attractive figure enclosed a given area within a perimeter of minimum or maximum length. It is concluded that future research in this area cannot afford to focus exclusively on group performance measures.
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