Main Research Areas
- The neural basis of aesthetic experience
- Visual preferences
- The neurobiology of information foraging
- Brain imaging methods
1997 – 2004 PhD (Neuroscience), The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
1993 – 1997 Bachelor of Arts (Cognitive Science), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
2016 - Research Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
2014 - 2015 Full Research Scientist, Center for Brain Imaging, New York University, New York, NY
2010 - 2015 Co-Director, NYU ArtLab
2009 - 2014 Assistant Research Scientist, Center for Brain Imaging, NYU
2011 Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Psychology, NYU
2008 - 2009 Research Consultant for Nava Rubin, Center for Neural Science, NYU, and Denis Pelli, Dept. of Psychology, NYU
2007 – 2008 Adjunct Lecturer, Depts. of Psychology and English, NYU
2004 - 2007 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Neural Science, NYU, Advisor: Nava Rubin
Belfi, A.M., Vessel, E.A., Starr, G.G. (2017). Individual ratings of vividness predict aesthetic appeal in poetry. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication
Vessel, E. A., Biederman, I., Subramaniam, S., & Greene, M. R. (2016). Effective signaling of surface boundaries by L-vertices reflect the consistency of their contrast in natural images. Journal of Vision, 16(9), 15-15. doi: 10.1167/16.9.15. http://journalofvision.org/16/9/15
Vessel, E. A. (2015) Effects of reduced sensory stimulation and assessment of countermeasures for sensory stimulation augmentation. Draft Report. Houston (TX): National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US). 173 p. Contract No.: NNJ13HF11P.
Vessel, E. A., Stahl, J., Maurer, N., Denker, A., Starr. G.G. (2014) Personalized visual aesthetics. Proc. SPIE 9014, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XIX, 90140S, 1-8. doi: 10.1117/12.2043126.
Vessel, E. A., Starr, G.G., Rubin, N. (2013) Art reaches within: aesthetic experience, the self and the default-mode network. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7:258, doi: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00258. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2013.00258
Vessel, E. A., Starr, G.G., Rubin, N. (2012) The brain on art: Intense aesthetic experience activates the default mode network. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6:66, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00066. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2012.00066
Vessel, E. A., & Rubin, N. (2010). Beauty and the beholder: Highly individual taste for abstract, but not real-world images. Journal of Vision, 10(2): 18, 1-14, journalofvision.org/10/2/18, doi:10.1167/10.2.18.
Yue, X., Vessel, E. A., & Biederman, I. (2007) The neural basis of scene preferences. NeuroReport, 16(6), 525-529.
Biederman, I. & Vessel, E. A. (2006) Perceptual pleasure and the brain. American Scientist, 94, 249-255.
Awards & Grants
2014 – 2016 Beauty and Beyond Research Institute, Global Institute for Advanced Studies, NYU
2013 – 2014 Sensory stimulation augmentation tools for long duration exploration spaceflight, NASA
2013 Panelist, World Science Festival
2003 - 2006 Postdoctoral NRSA award (NEI)
2001 - 2003 Predoctoral NRSA Traineeship: USC Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience Training Grant
2001 Fellow at the Dartmouth Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience
- Singing Voice Preferences
As suggested by the many singing contests and music programs in the media, the singing voice attracts ample attention. Recent studies showed that lay and expert listeners share similar definitions of what is “correct” when listening to untrained ...
- Exploring Network Interactions During Aesthetic Experiences
How does the brain support aesthetic experiences with visual stimuli such as artwork, landscapes, architecture or dance? Recent work in our group suggests that finding a painting to be aesthetically moving involves a change away from the typical ...
- Aesthetic Appreciation Across Multiple Visual Domains
Individuals can be aesthetically engaged by objects from widely different visual aesthetic domains, such as paintings, mountain vistas, or buildings. The goal of this project is to understand whether aesthetic appreciation of different visual domains ...
- A Developmental Timeline of Hedonic Preferences
Adult liking judgments for visual scenes are strongly influenced by the semantic content of images, more so than by lower-level visual features (e.g. the presence of specific colors or line types). This results in a strong degree of shared taste ...
- Multidimensional Aesthetic Responsiveness Scale (MARS): Psychometric analysis and test of measurement invariance across samples from the USA and Germany
It is generally accepted that most people are capable of having moving aesthetic experiences, with the caveat that the particular types of stimuli that are effective elicitors of positive aesthetic responses, and the intensity of aesthetic ...