Cross-cultural aesthetics: Analyses and experiments in verbal and visual arts

Shlomo Dubnov, Kevin Burns, Yasushi Kiyoki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aesthetics arise from arousal of the senses followed by appraisals that make sense of what was sensed. The underlying psychology of sense-making can be modeled mathematically as a reduction in entropy, from the initial entropy of arousal to residual entropy after appraisal. This theoretical framework is applied here to the aesthetics of verbal and visual arts across American and Japanese cultures. First, a computational model is proposed to analyze the aesthetics of humor in haiku form and amusing advertisements known as Burma-Shave jingles. These analyses demonstrate how aesthetic experiences can be computed in terms of entropy reduction, for both forms of verse. Then, an experimental study is performed to characterize preferences for complexity in abstract art across samples of American and Japanese populations. This experiment further illustrates how aesthetics can be computed in terms of entropy, establishing commonalities between the two cultures and uncovering differences in aesthetic preferences of individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringerBriefs in Computer Science
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringerBriefs in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)2191-5768
ISSN (Electronic)2191-5776


  • Aesthetic experience
  • Human judgment
  • Information rate
  • Present signal
  • Visual complexity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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