Complexity is conventionally defined as the level of detail or intricacy contained within a picture. The study of complexity has received relatively little attention-in part, because of the absence of an acceptable metric. Traditionally, normative ratings of complexity have been based on human judgments. However, this study demonstrates that published norms for visual complexity are biased. Familiarity and learning influence the subjective complexity scores for nonsense shapes, with a significant training x familiarity interaction [F(1,52) = 17.53, p <.05]. Several image-processing techniques were explored as alternative measures of picture and image complexity. A perimeter detection measure correlates strongly with human judgments of the complexity of line drawings of real-world objects and nonsense shapes and captures some of the processes important in judgments of subjective complexity, while removing the bias due to familiarity effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychology (miscellaneous)
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology