Sunday, 9 November 2008

mathematical algorithms explain beauty, curiosity.

So this crazy german dude reckons that since your brain (an information-processing device) doesn't want to store every single sensory input it perceives, it uses compression techniques to be simplify the world.  he goes on to suggest that our brain finds things beautiful when it can encode them using as few algorithms as possible - ie highly compressible things.  this is why symmetrical faces are so appealing.

He goes on to say that it makes sense that things which we find interesting are things which don't quite fit with our existing compression algorithms, but that force us to develop new ones - things that you've already decided are beautiful become boring if you keep looking at them, so you begin to look for things that are beautiful in a new way.

And here's a copy of one of his papers on the subject: Simple Algorithmic Principles of Discovery, Subjective Beauty, Selective Attention, Curiosity & Creativity, including evolutionary justifications for all of the above. 

Absolutely lovin' my course, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I think there's something in this theory, but it's not the whole story. For example, perfectly symmetrical faces are in fact slightly less attractive than slightly asymmetrical faces.