The Creative Quartet:

contrast, rhythm, balance and proportion: universal principles of organic and

aesthetic creativity.

Peter D. Stebbing

Hochschule für Gestaltung

This is important to me )Pat) because of the notion of ‘exaction’ or ‘preadaption’. I have not read the article yet (title of obituary)

the article seems to relate aesthetic responses of pleasure and desire to keep looking to evolution. I think exaction is to do with a particular response which becomes removed from its original stimulus and its original adaptive function but remains as a response with its rewards? does that make sense (also in obituary)

This investigation began in 1984 in response to students’ questions concerning the

reasons for the significance of visual rhythm (pattern) and balance and other basic

organisational principles of visual composition (aesthetic form) in graphic design.

The subsequent research has led to a theory that these basic principles are appealing

to us because our perceptual sensitivity originally evolved to recognize visual rhythms

and balances, etc. since these organizational principles are indicative of life forms,

whose recognition is essential for our survival. Consequently, our sense of aesthetic

composition could be an exaptation (or was ‘preadapted’) from our ability to

recognize the diversity of organic forms. Furthermore, our organic-form-recognitionreward

system may have provided us with the basis for our aesthetic appreciation. It

is anticipated that neuroscience can help us to achieve a deeper understanding of

aesthetics, for example, the evolutionary association which may exist between organic

form recognition and our perception of visual composition and aesthetic form.

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