Prof. Dr. David Huron
in Cooperation with the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University about "Why Do Some Listeners Enjoy Listening to Sad Music?"December 16th 2013, 18:00 h
The objective of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics is to arrive at a deeper understanding of the mechanisms, elicitors and functions of aesthetic liking and aesthetic preferences: Who appreciates what and why and under what conditions? And what functions do aesthetic practices and preferences serve for individuals, social groups and societies?
The research focuses primarily on the foundations of aesthetic evaluation, perception and experience.
Like most other forms of empirical research that are not wholly exploratory in nature, empirical aesthetics is driven by theories, hypotheses and models. Specifically, it faces the challenge of integrating and developing theories, hypotheses and models from very different disciplines, most notably from psychology, the traditional poetics of the individual art forms, musicology, art history, literary studies, biology, sociology, and the neurosciences. The structure of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics is based on the assumption that progress towards an integrative aesthetic theory can only be achieved through a strong focus on basic research and joint interdisciplinary efforts.
The institute will have four departments. Two of them ("Music" and "Langugage and Literature") will start to work in fall 2013. The appointment of a director of the third department (Neuroscience) is in an advanced stage. As to a fourth director, the search is only beginning.