Program 4: Perception, Emotion and Aesthetics

Speaker: Helmut Leder

Why do people prefer certain objects? What objects are perceived as beautiful or pleasant or interesting? And what social and cultural conditions is aesthetic experience based upon? These questions constitute the research focus of program P4, bringing together research that explores those processes that constitute an aesthetic experience (e.g. perception, emotion and their interplay with other cognitive processes) with the temporal and visual arts and other sensory phenomena, including design, architecture and human face perception.

Aisthesis is the Greek word for perception, and source of the term aesthetics. This program will study the large field between aisthesis and aesthetics in the broad sense of the term, including natural life (e.g. the beauty of faces or noise/music-induced emotions), design, and the arts in the context of an extended predictive mind approach. Rigorous methods are central to this program, and comprise behavioural and physiological measures (such as eye movement measures, facial EMG, SCR), brain imaging, EEG, fMRI), and systems for brain stimulation (TMS, tDCS). Research is performed both in laboratories and in the field (e.g. museums, performances, public life).


More information about all PIs of this program: