Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id QAA25401 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Tue, 2 Oct 2001 16:30:25 +0100 Message-ID: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3102A6D058@inchna.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: What/Who selects memes? Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 16:25:47 +0100 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21) Content-Type: text/plain Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are features, such as proportionality and symmetry that are highly
generalised aesthetic preferences in humans. I agree the exact why of
particular things is interesting, but strikes me as one of those 'why'
questions that can't be answered, as opposed to the how particular tastes
came about, which might. Besides, surely of more interest are those
occasions when large numbers of people seem to find something aesthetically
pleasing, whether that be the millions seeing 'Titanic' or buying 'Pink
Floyd' albums (neither of which I can personally understand...:-)).
There is, for example, a particular way of framing images colloquially
called the 'golden shot', that is used continually in film. In involves the
placing of the main subject, say a human face, not at the centre of the
frame, horizontally, but to one side. This is continually used in film, and
is particularly noticeable in widescreen films. Perhaps this relates to our
field of vision, and how we focus, hence we find it easier to follow, and
thus more preferable? A bit like the sexual selection proponents who point
to symmetry as a good indicator of reproductive success (greater symmetry is
taken to represent greater fitness). Notice also, the convention for
'landscape' and 'portrait' layouts- are these pragmatic or aesthetic
The cultural layer one might add to this has also been seen by some to be
highly deterministic, in the sense of cultural environments shaping
individual tastes. I've probably mentioned him on the list before, but
Bourdieu, for example, talks about this (I believe he called it 'habitus')-
and suggested that by knowing a person's geographical origin, class, gender
and educational background, one could make very educated guesses at people's
tastes in music, art etc.
As to your 'brains select memes' line, the "memes as virus" school of
thought would argue it's the other way around, at least some of the time.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Oct 02 2001 - 16:35:36 BST