The interaction between the form of visual presentation and viewers’ emotions: an analysis of research results

Arvydas Kuzinas, Ilona Čėsnienė


The goal of the present article is to draw attention to the fact that the impact of an image is related not only to its content but also to the form. The results of various pieces of research in this area are discussed. The article concentrates on the emotional effects of individual visual elements and presents data about the effect of several most important elements: colour, shape and size. For example, the data of various studies show that colour images, in comparison to the uncoloured ones, are more emotionally arousing. Moreover, some colours evoke more positive emotions than others, a rounded form is considered to be more positive than an angular one, and big pictures are more emotionally arousing than small ones.
In addition, the article introduces several points of view which explain the interaction between the form of an image and the emotions of viewers. The main focus is on the influence of previous experience, inherent readiness to react to vital stimuli, and on the role of information processing.
Finally, some problems in the research in this area are discussed and ideas regarding future research are suggested. Most importantly, for a wider application of the research results it would be useful not to limit the analysis to only separate image elements but to study the combinations of different image elements and the interaction between the information of different sensory modalities as well.


emotions; images; colour; shape; size

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789