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Anne Giersch, Laurence Lalanne, Mitsouko van Assche, Patrick E. Poncelet and Mark A. Elliott

Deana B. Davalos and Jamie Opper

Deborah L. Harrington and Stephen M. Rao

Carolyn Brighouse, Jess Hartcher-O’Brien and Carmel A. Levitan

Seyed Ali Amirshahi, Gregor Uwe Hayn-Leichsenring, Joachim Denzler and Christoph Redies

The rule of thirds (ROT) is one of the best-known composition rules used in painting and photography. According to this rule, the focus point of an image should be placed along one of the third lines or on one of the four intersections of the third lines, to give aesthetically pleasing results. Recently, calculated saliency maps have been used in an attempt to predict whether or not images obey the rule of thirds. In the present study, we challenged this computer-based approach by comparing calculated ROT values with behavioral (subjective) ROT scores obtained from 30 participants in a psychological experiment. For photographs that did not follow the rule of thirds, subjective ROT scores matched calculated ROT values reasonably well. For photographs that followed the rule of thirds, we found a moderate correlation between subjective scores and calculated values. However, aesthetic rating scores correlated only weakly with subjective ROT scores and not at all with calculated ROT values. Moreover, for photographs that were rated as highly aesthetic and for a large set of paintings, calculated ROT values were about as low as in photographs that did not follow the rule of thirds. In conclusion, the computer-based ROT metrics can predict the behavioral data, but not completely. Despite its proclaimed importance in artistic composition, the rule of thirds seems to play only a minor, if any, role in large sets of high-quality photographs and paintings.

Sharon Gilaie-Dotan, Geraint Rees, Brian Butterworth and Marinella Cappelletti

It has been suggested that the human ability to process number and time both rely on common magnitude mechanisms, yet for time this commonality has mainly been investigated in the sub-second rather than longer time ranges. Here we examined whether number processing is associated with timing in time ranges greater than a second. Specifically, we tested long duration estimation abilities in adults with a developmental impairment in numerical processing (dyscalculia), reasoning that any such timing impairment co-occurring with dyscalculia may be consistent with joint mechanisms for time estimation and number processing. Dyscalculics and age-matched controls were tested on supra-second temporal estimation (12 s), a difficulty-matched non-temporal control task, as well as mathematical abilities. Consistent with our hypothesis, dyscalculics were significantly impaired in supra-second duration estimation but not in the control task. Furthermore, supra-second timing ability positively correlated with mathematical proficiency. All participants reported that they used counting to estimate time, although no specific instructions were given with respect to counting. These results suggest that numerical processing and supra-second temporal estimation share common mechanisms. However, since this conclusion is also based on subjective observations, further work needs to be done to determine whether mathematical impairment co-occurs with supra-second time estimation impairment when counting is not involved in and is objectively controlled for during supra-second timing. We hypothesize that counting, that does not develop normally in dyscalculics, might underlie and adversely affect dyscalculics’ supra-second time estimation performance, rather than an impairment of a magnitude mechanism or the internal clock pacemaker.