‘Art Perception’ free downloadable textbook


Art Perception by David Cycleback is available in paperback for sale and free download.  Below is the description:

“A complex and fascinating question is why do humans have such strong emotional reactions and human connections to art? Why do viewers become scared, even haunted for days, by a movie monster they know doesn’t exist? Why do humans become enthralled by distorted figures and scenes that aren’t realistic? Why do viewers have emotional attachments to comic book characters? The answer lies in that, while humans know art is human made artifice, they view and decipher art using the same often nonconscious methods that they use to view and decipher reality. Looking at how we perceive reality shows us how we perceive art, and looking at how we perceive art helps show us how we perceive reality. Written by the prominent art historian and philosopher Cycleback, this book is a concise introduction to understanding art perception, covering key psychological, cognitive science, physiological and philosophical concepts.”

It can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

It can also be downloaded and read for free in pdf format.


1 Introduction

in general cognition and perception

2 Conceits

3 Useful conceits

4 Human achievement

art perception

5 Art Conceits and the limits of communication

6 Art perception involves the irrational and psychological

7 Symbols

8 Each art medium is limited it what it can show literally

9 Humans know and feel there is more than what they see and can comprehend, more than what they experience in their day to day


10 Humans mentally adapt to and accept new and artificial worlds

11 Speculation, play acting, day and night dreams

12 The cognitive science of perception: introduction

13: Shape, patterns and form biases

14: Comparisons

15: Imagination

16: The ambiguity and imagination of language

17: Presenting works of art authentically

18: Focusing and Ignoring

19: Basic qualities and areas that evoke aesthetic and psychological


20: Night and day vision

21: Instant perception and uncorrectable illusions

22: Perception of movement

23: Narrative and the perception of still information

24: Values, culture and aesthetics in visual perception

25: What we see is different than what we look at: The Physiology of seeing

26: The Illusion of depth in two dimensional art

27: The Subjective experience

28: Defining art

Examples of Aesthetics and Psychology in Non-Art Areas

29: Fiction in Science

30: Mirages

31: Numeral Systems and Psychology

32: Art Perception and the Limits of Human Knowledge


It can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

It can also be downloaded and read for free in pdf format.