News

If you like to be added to the media list of Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics and receive our research news, please send an email to: anna.husemann@aesthetics.mpg.de
 

2018

December

No news available.

November

No news available.

October

No news available.

September

No news available.

August

No news available.

July

No news available.

June

No news available.

May

On May 6, our institute opens its doors for a program of short public lectures on the latest research projects and live music in the ArtLab.

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April

From 2023, the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics is planning to move into the building of the old Dondorf printing house in Bockenheim.

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Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics publish study investigating eye movements while reading proverbs

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March

New conversation series about the stories behind the official CV

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Public lectures in the field of neurosciences - the Westend Lectures go into the second round. 

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February

...as a paradigm in music sociology and cultural studies" / Deadline: 30 April 2018

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January

No news available.

2017

December

First research report released.

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A new study shows why we enjoy negative emotions in film and art

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A new study by New York University and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics shows that vivid pictorial language has the greatest influence on the aesthetic appeal of poetry. The results improve our understanding of aesthetic preferences in general.

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November

New linguistic study shows that our mind links human sounds to abstract content

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The human auditory system has preferences, as evidenced by a recent study of the MPI for Empirical Aesthetics published in PLOS Biology.

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Oktober

In the first Fechner Lecture at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Anjan Chatterjee focused on “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly of Beauty”. Professor Chatterjee (University of Pennsylvania) is among the leading international scientists in the field of neuroaesthetics. Professor David Poeppel, Managing Director of the institute, welcomed more than 100 listeners in the ArtLab Foyer. Why does beauty play a key role in society? In his speech, Anjan Chatterjee spanned an arc from the origins of cosmetics industry to the social implications of blemishes.

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In der Nacht zum 2. Oktober verstarb völlig unerwartet unser wunderbarer Kollege Prof. Dr. Hartmut Grimm, Senior Researcher an der Musikabteilung.

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Public Fechner Lecture on 24 October with US Neuroscientist Anjan Chatterjee, M.D.

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September

No news available.

August

On 12 and 14 September, public research concerts will take place at our institute to investigate the perception of music in the context of the concert. Interested people are cordially invited to participate. Admission is free of charge, registration is required.

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On August 17th and 18th, the conference "Music & Eye-Tracking -What eye movements, pupil dilation, and blinking activity tell us about musical processing" will take place at our institute.

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July

No news available.

June

On July 12th we welcome the renowned music psychologist Daniel Müllensiefen to a lecture on the topic "The Psychology of Aesthetic Experience" at 2 pm at our institute. External guests are welcome and can register.

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Wissenschaftler und Wissenschaftlerinnen des Max-Planck-Instituts für empirische Ästhetik präsentieren eine Skala zur universellen Erfassung ästhetischer Gefühle.

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On 29 and 30 June, a symposium at the Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics on Mixed Emotions and Aesthetics will bring together leading scientists in this field.

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On 29 and 30 June, a symposium on Mixed Emotions and Aesthetics at Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics will bring together leading scientists in the field.

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May

Poetic language is one of the most ancient forms of human expression. The presence of poems in cultures around the world and throughout recorded history suggests that it has a strong grip on human emotion. However, to date, no empirical study has investigated the emotional effects of poems on the human brain and body. Using a multimethod approach that includes behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging data, we investigated the emotional power of recited moving poems.

 

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April

The synchronization of brainwaves among students during class reflects how much they like the class and each other, a team of neuroscientists has found.  “How well our brainwaves sync up with those of another person appears to be a good predictor of how well we get along and how engaged we are,” explains lead author Suzanne Dikker, a research scientist at New York University’s Department of Psychology and Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “Overall, our findings suggest that brain-to-brain synchrony is a possible neural marker for everyday social interactions.”

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March

Auditory neuroscience has provided strong evidence that neural oscillations synchronize to the rhythms of speech. Higher up in the hierarchy, cycles of cortical excitation and inhibition would also reflect syntactic parsing and the processing of sentence-level semantics. This international symposium will join leading researchers from the speech and language fields with eminent systems neuroscientists from the field of neural oscillations. Through intense discussions and presentations of exciting new work, we will lay out the basis for a unified perspective on the role of neural oscillations in speech processing and language comprehension—from phonemes to grammar.

Symposium, May 28-31, 2017, Harnack-Haus of the Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany

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What can eye movements, pupil dilation, and blinking activity tell us about musical processing? We are very pleased to announce the call for abstract submissions to the conference on “Music and Eye-tracking", which will be held 17th-18th of August 2017 at the Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany. Our goal is to bring together the leading experts from psychology, all fields of music research, sociology, cultural sciences, and neuroscience, united in the interest to investigate musical processing using eye-tracking methodology or combining eye–tracking with other methods. In addition, submissions on fundamental research regarding cross-modal interactions are welcome. Submission is open until April 5th.

For more information please see http://ae.mpg.de/met17

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Understanding the correlations between brain and behavior has always been one key objective of the neurosciences. Ever more compelling technical tools developed in recent history have resulted in the collection of immense amounts of neurobiological data. They allow scientists to examine the brain’s component parts on a level of detail like never before. But can this information comprehensively explain behavior?

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February

 “I was moved to tears.“ “I had shivers-down-the-spine.” Both physiological responses are associated with intense aesthetic experiences and with states of being emotionally moved. But is it possible to shed tears and have goosebumps at a time? Or are there differentially distributed over time? To get a grip on this problem, we collected data on both tears and goosebumps, the latter via a video-recording device. We also acquired several physiological signals, such as skin conductance, heart rate, and respiration frequency. This allowed us to reveal the biological signature of these emotional reactions and to compare them with one another. As elicitors of tears and goosebumps, we used over 130 moving film clips that were self-selected by the participants. This procedure guarantees that the critical reaction (tears and goosebumps) is reliably elicited during the experiment. Furthermore, it provides us with the possibility to identify parameters of film making that are conducive to eliciting chills and moving us to tears.

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January

Alliteration, anaphora, meter, rhyme, etc. are well-known patterns of repetition/recurrence („parallelisms“) in poetic language. Earlier empirical research has shown that they enhance ease of perceptual (prosodic) processing, while at the same time often rendering semantic processing more demanding. Drawing on a corpus of 40 poems, researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics were the first to study emotional effects of these features of poetic diction. They found them to intensify all target emotions investigated in the study (joy, sadness, being moved, etc.). Thus, parallelistic features of poetic language may be considered as general intensifiers of emotional responses.

 

Original publication:

Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Wassiliwizky, E., Jacobsen, T., & Knoop, C. A. (advanced online publication).The emotional and aesthetic powers of parallelistic diction. Poetics. doi: 10.1016/j.poetic.2016.12.001

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Winfried Menninghaus
Director Department of Language and Literature
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main

+49 69 8300479-101 

 

Dr. Anna Husemann
Research Coordination/PR
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main

+49 69 8300479-650

anna.husemann@ae.mpg.de

 

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New publication shows: division-of-labor, flat hierarchies and non-synchronous interaction can be beneficial

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2016

December

Das Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik sucht Teilnehmer/innen für eine großangelegte Studie (online-Fragebogen), die das Erleben von Schönheit untersucht.

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November

Am 19. November 2016 fand in der Alten Oper ein Vortrag der Gesprächsreihe „Das Konzert in der Forschung" statt. Die Gesprächsreihe ist eine Kooperation des Max-Planck-Instituts für empirische Ästhetik und der Alten Oper Frankfurt. Michaela Kaufmann, wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik, berichtete über die Ergebnisse der Studie „Goldene Ohren“. In der Studie ging es um die Fragestellung, inwieweit informiertes Hören, also bspw. Information über Musik in Programmehefttexten, die Wahrnehmung von musikalischen Aspekten beeinflussen kann. Auch an dieser Stelle möchten wir uns nochmals bei allen TeilnehmerInnen der Studie bedanken. 

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Seit der griechischen Antike beschäftigen sich Wissenschaftler, Dichter und Lyrikliebhaber immer wieder mit der Frage, ob es in der Poesie einen Zusammenhang zwischen Klang und emotionaler Textbedeutung gibt. Eine Reihe von Studien neueren Datums berichtete, dass bestimmte Phoneme (Plosive) häufiger in freudigen Gedichten auftreten, andere Phoneme (Nasale) hingegen häufiger in traurigen Gedichten zu finden seien. Weitere Untersuchungen und theoretische Auseinandersetzungen kamen zu dem Schluss, dass sich freudige, hell klingende Gedichte durch ein hohes Aufkommen an Vorderzungenvokalen auszeichnen und traurige, dunkle Gedichte durch viele Hinterzungenvokale.

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October

Am 9. November 2016 fand im ArtLab des Max-Planck-Instituts für empirische Ästhetik eine Performance der besonderen Art statt: Schwitters’ Ursonate (1923) vorgetragen von Michael Schmid. Die Besucher der Performance waren zugleich Mitwirkende eines Forschungsprojekts. Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter: www.aesthetics.mpg.de/ursonate

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In the framework of the Europe-wide project “CONNECT – The audience as artist”, the coming weeks see the premieres of two commissioned works by Huang Ruo (The Sonic Great Wall) and Christian Mason (In the midst of the Sonorous Islands) in three different European cities. The audience acts as an explicit and constitutive part of both works, creating an immersive and interactive musical experience. 

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September

Paul Elvers, research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, received the second place at the »Best Poster Prize« during the 24th Conference of the  International Association for Empirical Aesthetics« (IAEA).  With his poster Paul Elvers reported on a study that investigates the effects of motivational music. The study is part of his doctoral project. Congratulations!

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August

First comprehensive empirical investigation into trash films and their audience So-called ‘trash films’ do not stand in opposition to taste and education. Quite the contrary, they are often watched by people with an above-average education and interest in culture. In a survey performed at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, film scholar Keyvan Sarkhosh investigated why certain viewers actively seek and enjoy films which they themselves describe as cheap and trash.

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July

No news available.

June

No news available.

May

We welcome Mrs. Yi Chen at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. Dr. Chen holds Ph.D.s from Shanghai, China, and Toronto, Canada, and recently was lecturer at Victoria University in the University of Toronto. She has been awarded with a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers for a period of 24 month by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, starting May, 1st, 2016.

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April

The Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics seeks to bring together refugee families and local families for "Playdates" during which the kids play and parents can exchange experiences.

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Wenn Menschen eine Aufgabe als Team bewältigen, funktioniert das unterschiedlich gut. Je besser ein Team zusammenarbeitet, desto stärker synchronisieren sich die Körperfunktionen der Mitglieder.

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Pauline Larrouy-Maestri, PhD, awarded by SEMPRE/ICMPC14

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March

No news available.

February

Scientists attempt to explain the enjoyment of negative emotions in art and entertainment experiences. The arts and entertainment can trigger positive emotions. Yet why do people take pleasure in watching horror movies, reading tragedies, or experiencing other kinds of artistic works that elicit negative feelings? Which factors can account for this phenomenon? A group of scientists pursued this question.

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January

Researchers discover how the brain completes sentences.

Even if we just hear part of what someone has said, when we are familiar with the context, we automatically add the missing information ourselves. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt and the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have now succeeded in demonstrating how we do this.

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Language that is metrically regular to an unusual degree is not only found in poetry, but also in the language of rites and festive events, in preverbal infant-directed speech (IDS), in slogans, commercial ads, etc.

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2015

December

New research presents evidence for innate understanding of language rules We all possess an internal grammar mechanism in our brain which becomes active when we process language. This decade-old theory appears now to have been proven by a new neuroscientific study and gives new support to the the universal grammar theory by renowned linguist Noam Chomsky. 

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November

No news available.

October

Researchers find neurological notes that help identify how we process music Researchers at Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt and of the New York University have identified how brain rhythms are used to process music, a finding that also contributes to a better understanding of the auditory system. Furthermore, the study suggests that musical training can enhance the functional role of brain rhythms. 

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The Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics opened in Frankfurt am Main Fascinating! Moving! Thrilling! Who likes what, why, and under what conditions? These are exactly the kind of questions that scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics aim to answer. The Institute in Frankfurt officially opened on Tuesday, 13 October 2015.

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September

Musical tastes are changing and losing their links to social status. Musical taste has traditionally been viewed as class-related: the elite attends classical music concerts, the middle classes prefer highbrow easy listening, while the lower classes enjoy pop and folk music. However, the accuracy of these categorizations appears to be increasingly on the wane. Research in the US has shown that the upper classes, in particular, are increasingly adding different styles of music to their tastes that were previously associated with the middle and lower classes. A study by the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics has now determined for the first time that tastes are also changing here. The survey, which was carried out among students, also shows that taste can become more independent of social background through an intensive engagement with music.

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In tune or out of tune – people with no formal musical training versus professional musicians. Frankfurt/Liège: Not everyone has the ability to  sing. But is everyone capable of hearing that a song is out of tune?  "Pop Idol", "The Voice of Germany"… there are many music casting shows and talent contests based on viewers' voting. However,  television viewership is not comprised of professional musicians, but of laypersons.  Are they really capable of judging non-professional singers?

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August

No news available.

July

It is not unusual to experience strong emotions when watching moving film scenes. The emotions can in fact become so intense that a thermoregulatory response – piloerection, chills or goose bumps – can be triggered by the body. Since this response is not caused by variation in temperature, it is called "emotional piloerection". But which specific emotion underlies this peculiar response? And are all emotions equally likely to elicit such a response?

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The study investigated the effects of three experimentally modified rhetorical features. While they exerted an adverse effect on comprehensibility, they enhanced perveived beauty, succinctness (praegnanz), beauty and power of persuasion.

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Screams occupy a privileged acoustic niche to ensure their biological and social efficiency. An international team of neuroscientists from the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, New York University and the University of Geneva has proved the uniqueness of screams for the first time. In a study, they discovered that screams possess very special acoustic properties: This makes them a specific type of vocal expression which is only used in stressful and dangerous situations.

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Special Issue CORTEX: Prediction in speech and language processingCurrent theories of perception assume that what we really see or hear derives from the integration of the available sensory evidence with prior assumptions.

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June

Ever since Latin rhetoric and poetics emotionally moving (lat. movere) an audience has been identified as one of the major goals of the arts. Psychological research on emotions has devoted (almost) no attention to feelings of being moved. Researchers of our institute have now published a major study on the topic.

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May

No news available.

April

No news available.

March

No news available.

February

No news available.

January

No news available.