Learning an Artist's Style: Just What Does a Pigeon See in a Picasso?

Vokey, John R and Tangen, Jason M (2001) Learning an Artist's Style: Just What Does a Pigeon See in a Picasso? [Conference Poster] (Unpublished)

Full text available as:

[img] PDF


Judgments of style in art, music, and literature are commonplace, although the mechanisms providing for this structural sensitivity are not well understood. Watanabe, Sakamoto, and Wakita (1995) showed that pigeons trained to discriminate colour slides of paintings of Picasso from those of Monet could generalise this discrimination not only to new paintings of Picasso and Monet, but also to paintings of other cubist and impressionist painters. These results suggest that the bases for such judgments of artistic style may be simpler than normally thought. This tacit sensitivity to artistic style is explored in terms of a simple PCA network model applied to pixel-maps of the paintings. The eigenvectors obtained from the singular value decomposition of sets of these pixel-maps provide for descriptions of the stimuli in terms of visual “macro-features”. These macro-features provide a simple basis not only for recognising previously-experienced paintings, but for the successful discrimination of novel paintings into various style categories. A summary of simulations of the performance of Watanabe et al.’s pigeons using precisely the same stimuli and tasks is provided. The results suggest that the eigen-decomposition is a necessary first-step, and that the bases for judgments of style may indeed be quite simple.

Item Type:Conference Poster
Keywords:concept learning, classification, pigeons, style, eigenvectors, macro-features, Picasso, Monet
Subjects:Biology > Animal Cognition
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Comparative Psychology
Neuroscience > Neural Modelling
Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:2125
Deposited By: Vokey, John R
Deposited On:10 Mar 2002
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Abdi, H., Valentin, D., & Edelman, B. (1999). Neural Networks. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Abdi, H., Valentin, D., & Edelman, B., & O’Toole, A. (1995). More about the difference between mean and women: Evidence from linear neural networks and the principal component approach. Perception, 24, 539–562.

Herrnstein, R. J., & Loveland, D. H. (1964). Complex visual concept in the pigeon. Science, 146, 549–551.

Herrnstein, R. J., & Loveland, D. H., & Cable, C. (1976). Natural concepts in pigeons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 2, 285–302.

Monen, J., Brenner, E., & Reynarts, J. (1998). What does a pigeon see in a Picasso? Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 69, 223–226.

Ryle, G. (1951). Thinking and language. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplement, 25, 65–82.

Watanabe, S., Sakamoto, J., & Wakita, M. (1995). Pigeon’s discrimination of paintings by Monet and Picasso. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 63, 165–174.

Wittgenstein, L. (1968). Philosophical investigations (3rd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.


Repository Staff Only: item control page