Donnerstag, 23. Januar 2020, 15:00 - 16:30 iCal

Comparative aesthetics in the dove lab

Talk of Dr. Cliodhna Quigley (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna/Vienna Cognitive Science Hub, Austria)

Faculty of Psychology, Lecture hall G, 2nd floor (left wing of the building)
Liebigasse 5, 1010 Wien


For a long time, it has been debated whether aesthetics is something unique to humans. Our ongoing WWTF-funded project “Comparative Aesthetics: A novel approach to investigate multi-modal attractiveness in humans and animals” aims to empirically address this question in a collaboration between the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna and the University of Vienna. Defining aesthetic responses as approach behaviour that is associated with sensory pleasure as well as corresponding physiological states, we will explore whether humans and non-human animals share similar mechanisms in their evaluation of sexually attractive stimuli. Specifically, we will compare humans and ring doves (Streptopelia risoria), a species whose courtship behaviour and physiology has been extensively investigated in behavioural endocrinology and neuroendocrinology research. Both species form pair bonds, communicate using visual and auditory signals, and can be tested in laboratory conditions with conspecifics or using video and auditory stimuli.

Truly comparative work involves using as similar an experimental approach as possible for both human and animal participants. This is obviously challenging, and the first objective of our project is to develop appropriate methods and experimental designs for the study of attractiveness in humans and animals. In this talk, I will give an overview of the behavioural and physiological methods that we have been using in the Dove Lab since 2017, and some recent results. I will also give more insight into the specific comparative aesthetics research questions that we will explore in the project.




Department for Psychology of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods (EVA Lab)


Abla Marie-José Bedi
Department for Psychology of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods (EVA Lab)