The Institute

Creating and Experiencing the Arts

The Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (MPIEA) investigates why and how people create art and how they perform, experience, and evaluate it. The Institute’s focus is on music, but we also engage with other performing arts such as dance and film.

The MPIEA explores the underlying genetic, biological, and psychological processes that underlie the production and perception of art, as well as their interaction with the cultural, social, and historical factors and functions of aesthetic practices and discourses.

The MPIEA stands in the tradition of Gustav Theodor Fechner, who developed the concepts of empirical and experimental aesthetics in the 1870s, and Daniel Berlyne, who gave decisive new impulses to the psychological part of this research field in the 1970s. The connection back to philosophy as the mother discipline of aesthetics is also important to us. In an interdisciplinary approach, we also bring expertise, methods, and theories from musicology, art history, anthropology, and sociology into our research.

The MPIEA was founded in 2013. In its interdisciplinary, empirical approach, it combines the humanities and the sciences. The methods of psychology and neuroscience are combined with the expertise, methods, and theories of musicology, art history, anthropology, and sociology—always in connection back to philosophy as the mother discipline of aesthetics.




Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik
Grüneburgweg 14
60322 Frankfurt am Main

Tel.: + 49 69 8300479-0
Fax: + 49 69 8300479-299

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