Donnerstag, 15. Mrz 2018, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Scientific aesthetics:

Where are we and where do we want to be?

Talk of Marcos Nadal (University of the Balearic Islands)

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


Scientific aesthetics has made, in the last 15 years, spectacular progress. The field’s progress owes much to psychological models. On the substantive side, these models have systematized and integrated empirical findings of different sorts, and they have inspired many new experiments and served as interpretative frameworks for their results. On the practical side, they have enhanced the field’s prominence and attracted new researchers. In the long run, this has led to new conferences, the publication of new journals and books, and to clearing the path for our work to reach the readers of mainstream general psychology and neuroscience journals. This is no small achievement. Together, empirical work and theoretical models have successfully affirmed a proper scientific field. The challenge we now face as a field is a different one. We have the chance to define how we want scientific aesthetics to be. I believe two traits are essential. First, scientific aesthetics needs to be empirically oriented. Second, it needs to be relevant to other psychological and neuroscientific subfields. Achieving these goals will require using empirical and historical evidence to assess the validity of some of the field’s assumptions. In my talk I will focus on the assumption that art is special, the idea that explaining the experience of art requires special models that rely on specifically dedicated psychological and brain processes. This assumption continues to bias the way empirical evidence is treated, and to relegate scientific aesthetics to the periphery of psychology and neuroscience. It is therefore imperative that we understand where it came from, why it resisted repeated efforts to eradicate, and how it limits future developments in scientific aesthetics.


Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods (EVA Lab)


Abla Marie-Jose Bedi
Institut für Psycholgogische Grundlagenforschung und Forschungsmethoden