Mapping the Margins of Monstrosity
A Psychoanalytic Biography of S. Y. Agnon
Annika Grotjohann and Daniel Oberfeld
In the early 20th century, the German expressionist painter Franz Marc formulated assumptions concerning the meanings of color, based on his individual sensations. He characterized the ‘cool’ blue as the ‘masculine principle’. Yellow represented the ‘feminine principle’ which he declared as ‘gentle, cheerful, and sensual’. This leaves red, the color he perceived as ‘brutal and heavy’. Here, we tested some of the color–meaning associations assumed by Franz Marc via implicit measures based on response times, using Single Category Implicit Association Tests. The participants had to classify words as belonging to one of two semantic categories (e.g., masculine or feminine) by pressing one of two response buttons. One of the semantic categories shared a response button with a hue (e.g., masculine–blue), and this button needed to be pressed whenever a color patch was presented on the screen. The results showed that response times were faster when related hues and meaning categories (according to Marc’s assumptions) shared the same response button, compared to when unrelated hues and meaning categories were assigned to the same button. The pattern of response times was compatible with the associations of blue–masculine, yellow–feminine, blue–cool and yellow–gentle as proposed by Marc. In addition, our data indicate associations of yellow–warm and red–warm, which were not explicitly formulated by Franz Marc. However, the proposed red–brutal association was not confirmed.
This essay is a double exemplification: the first is a visual one based on Goodman’s theory of symbols showing that art can exemplify the delimitation of the flatness. I illustrate this claim with five achromatic paintings contrasting the materiality of the canvas with its visual elements. By emphasizing the epistemic nature of arts, this article also suggests a second exemplification: the use of visual elements to question their geometric associations.
The innocent eye, or seeing ‘what the eye sees’ is a meaningful expression many artists use to capture their experience in observational drawing and painting. However, a literal interpretation of the innocent eye does not comport with a science of vison focused on object perception. Nor is a two-step model involving a ‘bottom-up strategy’ a plausible account of the notion. Consistent with an emerging body of neuroscientific and psychophysical evidence for the pivotal role of attention in conscious vision, artists’ innocent eye is best construed as an extended proximal mode of vision involving focused attention on pictorial relationships in an identified object or scene. The innocent eye is open to creative expansion, made possible by a competency developed most likely in the early through middle childhood that underpins the visuocognitive skills for flexible deployment of attention, flexible representation, mental imagery and visual memory. The potential challenge from the rare cases of savant-talented artists, who seem to be able to access retinal images directly, is discussed and considered inconclusive. The proposed theoretical framework raises new questions for empirical investigations on the nature and development of the artists’ perceptual expertise, and has implications for science-based pedagogical approaches to drawing, painting, and creativity.
Miriam Ruess, Roland Thomaschke and Andrea Kiesel
Stimuli elicited by one’s own actions (i.e., effects) are perceived as temporally earlier compared to stimuli not elicited by one’s own actions. This phenomenon is referred to as intentional binding (IB), and is commonly used as an implicit measure of sense of agency. Typically, IB is investigated by employing the so-called clock paradigm, in which participants are instructed to press a key (i.e., perform an action), which is followed by a tone (i.e., an effect), while presented with a rotating clock hand. Participants are then asked to estimate the position of the clock hand at tone onset. This time point estimate is compared to a baseline estimate where the tone is presented without any preceding action. In the present study, we investigated IB for effects occurring after relatively long delay durations (500 ms, 650 ms, 800 ms), while manipulating the temporal predictability of the delay duration. We observed an increase of IB for longer delay durations, whereas the temporal predictability did not significantly influence the magnitude of IB. This extends previous findings obtained with the clock paradigm, which have shown an increase of IB for very short delay ranges (<250 ms), but a decrease for intermediate delay ranges up to delay durations of 650 ms. Our findings, thus, indicate rather complex temporal dynamics of IB that might look similar to a wave-shaped function.
Time is a fundamental dimension of human perception, cognition and action, as the processing and cognition of temporal information is essential for everyday activities and survival. Innumerable studies have investigated the perception of time over the last 100 years, but the neural and computational bases for the processing of time remains unknown. Extant models of time perception are discussed before the proposition of a unified model of time perception that relates perceived event timing with perceived duration. The distinction between perceived event timing and perceived duration provides the current for navigating a river of contemporary approaches to time perception. Recent work has advocated a Bayesian approach to time perception. This framework has been applied to both duration and perceived timing, where prior expectations about when a stimulus might occur in the future (prior distribution) are combined with current sensory evidence (likelihood function) in order to generate the perception of temporal properties (posterior distribution). In general, these models predict that the brain uses temporal expectations to bias perception in a way that stimuli are ‘regularized’ i.e. stimuli look more like what has been seen before. As such, the synthesis of perceived timing and duration models is of theoretical importance for the field of timing and time perception.
Tijana Jokic, Dan Zakay and Marc Wittmann
In this study we investigated how individual differences regarding impulsivity and time perspective predict the experience of waiting during a time interval without distraction. Each participant (N = 82) filled out self-report questionnaires on impulsiveness (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale) and time perspective (Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory). Participants were individually shut into an empty room for exactly 7.5 minutes and afterwards asked to report their subjective impressions regarding the experience of time, self and affective reactions. Correlation analyses showed that being more relaxed and having a positive feeling was related to shorter duration estimates and a perceived faster passage of time. Individual traits of impulsivity, present-hedonistic and present-fatalistic time orientation were associated with relative overestimation of duration and a perceived slower passage of time; future orientation was related to an underestimation of duration and a perceived faster passage of time. Multiple regression models show that impulsivity alone predicts the variance related to time estimation of the waiting period. Multiple path analyses reveal that individuals who are more impulsive are less relaxed while waiting and accordingly overestimate duration and feel a slower passage of time. Negative affect and an impulsive present orientation are related to an overestimation of duration and the feeling of a slower passage of time while waiting.
Giovanna Mioni, Vincent Laflamme, Massimo Grassi and Simon Grondin
The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of the emotional content of words marking brief intervals on the perceived duration of these intervals. Three independent variables were of interest: the gender of the person pronouncing the words, the gender of participants, and the valence (positive or negative) of the words in conjunction with their arousing properties. A bisection task was used and the tests, involving four different combinations of valence and arousing conditions (plus a neutral condition), were randomized within trials. The main results revealed that when the valence is negative, participants responded ‘short’ more often when words were pronounced by women rather than by men, and this effect occurred independently of the arousal condition. The results also revealed that overall, males responded ‘longer’more often than females. Finally, in the negative and low arousal condition, the Weber ratio was higher (lower sensitivity) when a male voice was used than when a female voice was used. This study shows that the gender of the person producing the stimuli whose duration is to be judged should be taken into account when analyzing the effect of emotion on time perception.