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What is the concensus (if there is one) in modern psychology regarding the well-known dubious belief that the Golden Rectangle is the rectangle that is most aesthetically pleasing to any given individual (as opposed to other rectangles - say ones with simple side ratios such as 1:2)?

I have only been able to find a few papers on this topic, but all of them were from the 19th and 20th centuries. I would like to know what modern psychology has to say about this topic.

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  • $\begingroup$ Psychologists' methods did not experience any dramatic shift at the end of the 20th century, last time I checked. Ok, maybe they became more aware of the replication issue/crisis. $\endgroup$ – Fizz Jan 23 '18 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Fizz I would still like to hear a full answer from a psychologist from 2018 :) $\endgroup$ – user18246 Jan 23 '18 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Is Golden Ratio's association with perceived beauty a myth? $\endgroup$ – user18246 Jan 23 '18 at 13:21
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A quick search found a 2015 paper titled "Time to let go? No automatic aesthetic preference for the golden ratio in art pictures."

The golden ratio is a frequently studied topic in many scientific disciplines, and, in psychology, it has been proposed as being a (universal) law governing aesthetic preferences. Empirical evidence for the golden ratio is equivocal and typically demonstrated through explicit (i.e., conscious, deliberate) evaluations using direct measurement methods (e.g., surveys). Here, we examined whether the golden ratio reflects an automatically elicited preference using the Implicit Association Test. We used real art images, with the foreground object presented in the golden ratio as well as either in the center (Studies 1 and 2) or ¾ ratio (Study 3). Both explicit and implicit evaluations did not reveal a clear preference for the golden ratio over other ratios. A possible preference for the golden ratio does not seem to be automatically elicited and may, rather, be driven by art expertise. This again calls into dispute the universality of a preference for the golden ratio.

So based on this it's disputable, at the very least, that the golden ratio is as pleasing as the received wisdom claims. I could not find something like a meta-analysis.

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