Psychology of Aesthetics

Kunstaustellung von Bildern im MUSA

This key research area (which primarily falls within the thematic area of cognitive, emotional and motivational processes and their biological foundations) motivates a research programme that studies the psychological mechanisms of aesthetic experience and behaviour. It is primarily oriented towards aspects of human perception and emotional processing as well as their underlying neuroscientific mechanisms. For this purpose, psychological models of aesthetic experience and behaviour have been developed. These models incorporate approaches from general psychology, cognitive psychology, evolutionary and cultural psychology, and neuroscience, which together provide the conceptual and theoretical framework.

The specific nature of aesthetic phenomena is primarily examined with regard to the visual domain. The focus is on aspects such as the difference between aesthetic impressions and other perception phenomena, the social dimension and cerebral physiological foundations of aesthetic experience and behaviour, as well as the relationship between aesthetic experience and resilience, health and well-being. This includes the study of questions related to the conditions of aesthetic experience and the factors that influence it; basic visual preferences; the influence of media, particularly new media, on aesthetic perception; and the social determinants and consequences of aesthetic experience. It thus covers a broad spectrum of areas (art, images, patterns, music, architecture, design, film, the body) and fields of application (museum studies, art and beauty in everyday life, impressions of design, the attractiveness of faces). This key research area is characterised by a pronounced cognitive science orientation, interdisciplinary approaches incorporating art history, biology, art, neuroscience, and strong international cooperation.