Studies: Babies Prefer Picasso to Monet

Picasso's La Paysage de Juan les Pins

Picasso's Landscape of Juan-les-pin

A series of five experiments involving 9-month-olds in Switzerland revealed that the babies preferred the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso over the French impressionist Claude Monet.  As MSNBC reports:

In one of the experiments, 24 infants (14 girls, 10 boys), were shown either six paintings by Picasso or the same number by Monet, and researchers measured their “look time” at each image. They then introduced two paintings side by side, one from each artist, Picasso’s “Landscape of Juan-les-pin” and Monet’s “Poppy Field Near Giverny.”

Babies who had been viewing the Monets preferred the Picasso — it was something new and different to their eyes. But the infants who had been shown the Picassos also looked longer at the new Picasso.

Another one of the experiments, which were all published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, presented babies with black-and-white versions of Picasso’s and Monet’s paintings.  Again, the babies preferred Picasso’s work, surprising researchers who had theorized that the artist’s color palettes had influenced the preferences.

Researchers concluded that it’s the sharp contrasts of Picasso’s paintings, as compared to Monet’s softer, more fluid imagery, that stimulated the babies.  Parents might look for bright-contrast toys to keep their own babies interested in things for longer.

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