Given a selection of snowflakes – some with simple structures and others more complex – which do people prefer? To find out, Olivia C. Adkins, who is a Graduate Research Assistant at Western Kentucky University, US, and J. Farley Norman, University Distinguished Professor, also at Western Kentucky University, devised at set of experiments. They showed silhouettes created from photographs of natural snowflakes (and a selection of computer-generated solid objects) to over 200 participants – who were asked to choose the most aesthetically pleasing examples.
For the solid objects, the results were mixed – some preferring the simpler shapes and others the complex ones, but with the flakes the results were striking:
“91% of participants perceived only the complex snowflakes as being most beautiful.”
The Visual Aesthetics of Snowflakes is scheduled for publication in a future print issue of the journal Perception.
Note: The experimental work was carried out in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki).