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Body, head, and gaze orientation in portraits: effects of artistic medium, date of execution, and gender

White, Peter 2020. Body, head, and gaze orientation in portraits: effects of artistic medium, date of execution, and gender. Laterality 25 (3) , pp. 292-324. 10.1080/1357650X.2019.1684935
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Abstract

Studies have found a tendency for heads in portraits to be oriented so that more of the left side than the right side of the face is visible, though it is stronger in female than in male portraits. Two studies are reported that set head orientation in the context of body and gaze orientation, and additionally look at effects of artistic medium (paintings, photographs, and drawings) and changes in the tendency over time. There was a strong congruency between body, head, and gaze orientation. In particular, body and head had the same orientation in more than three-quarters of the portraits in both samples. Gender differences were found only for paintings and only in Study 1. There were several strong effects of artistic medium; for example, frontal orientation of gaze was much less common in drawings than in paintings and photographs. There were also several changes over time; for example, frontal orientation of body and head tended to increase going into the twentieth century. The results show that body, head, and gaze direction need to be considered together, and hypotheses concerned only with head orientation cannot provide a complete explanation for posing orientation. Four possible approaches to explanations are briefly discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1357-650X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 November 2019
Date of Acceptance: 20 October 2019
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2020 13:36
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/126890

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