Edward A. Vessel, PhD

Main Research Areas

  • The neural basis of aesthetic experience
  • Visual preferences
  • The neurobiology of information foraging
  • Brain imaging methods




PhD (Neurosciences), The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


Bachelor of Arts (Cognitive Sciences), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD



Research Scientist, Max-Planck-Institute for empirical Aesthetics


Full Research Scientist, Center for Brain Imaging, New York University, New York, NY


Co-Director, NYU ArtLab


Assistant Research Scientist, Center for Brain Imaging, NYU


Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology, NYU


Research Consultant for Nava Rubin, Center for Neural Science, NYU, and Denis Pelli, Department of Psychology, NYU


Adjunct Lecturer, Departments of Psychology and English, NYU


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Neural Science, NYU, Advisor: Nava Rubin







Golbabaei, S., Christensen, J.F., Vessel, E.A., Kazemian, N., Borhani, K. (2022, in press). The Aesthetic Responsiveness Assessment (AReA) in Persian Language: A Scale Validation and Cultural Adaptation Study. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Preprint: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/tpsz8

Strijbosch, W., Vessel, E.A., Welke, D., Mitas, O., Gelissen, J., Bastiaansen, M. (2022). On the neuronal dynamics of aesthetic experience: Evidence from electroencephalographic oscillatory dynamics. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 34(2). https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01812

Vessel, E.A., Ishizu, T., Bignardi, G. (2022, in press). Neural correlates of visual aesthetic appeal. Chapter for Routledge Intl Handbook of Neuroaesthetics. https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge- International-Handbook-of-Neuroaesthetics/Skov-Nadal/p/book/9780367442743

Vessel, E.A., Starr, G.S. (2022). Imaging the subjective. In A. Chatterjee & E. Cardillo (Ed.). Brain, Beauty, and Art: Essays Bringing Neuroaesthetics Into Focus. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197513620.003.0024

Vessel, E.A., Yue, X., Biederman, I. (2022). Scene preferences, aesthetic appeal and curiosity: revisting the neurobiology of the infovore. In A. Chatterjee & E. Cardillo (Ed.). Brain, Beauty, and Art: Essays Bringing Neuroaesthetics Into Focus. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197513620.003.0013

Welke, D., & Vessel, E. A. (2022). Naturalistic viewing conditions can increase task engagement and aesthetic preference but have only minimal impact on EEG quality. NeuroImage256, 119218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119218

Isik, A.I. and Vessel, E.A. (2021). From Visual Perception to Aesthetic Appeal: Brain Responses to Aesthetically Appealing Natural Landscape Movies. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 15:676032. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2021.676032

Welke, D., Purton, I., Vessel, E.A. (2021). Inspired by art: Higher aesthetic appeal elicits increased felt inspiration in a creative writing task. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/aca0000393

Schlotz, W., Wallot, S. Omigie, D. Masucci, M.D., Hoelzmann, S.C., Vessel, E.A. (2020). The Aesthetic Responsiveness Assessment (AReA): A screening tool to assess individual differences in responsiveness to art in English and German. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aca0000348.

Vessel, E. A. (2020). Neuroaesthetics. In Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology (pp. 1–10). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809324-5.24104-7

Isik, A. I., & Vessel, E. A. (2019). Continuous ratings of movie watching reveal idiosyncratic dynamics of aesthetic enjoyment. PLOS ONE, 14(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223896

Vessel, E. A.,  Isik, A.I., Belfi, A.M.,  Stahl, J. L., and  Starr, G. G. (2019) The default-mode network represents aesthetic appeal that generalizes across visual domains. PNAS https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1902650116

Belfi, A. M., Vessel, E. A., Brielmann, A., Isik, A. I., Chatterjee, A., Leder, H., Pelli, D. G., Starr, G. G. (2019). Dynamics of aesthetic experience are reflected in the default-mode network. NeuroImage, 188, 584–597. http://doi.org/10.1016/J.NEUROIMAGE.2018.12.017

Belfi, A. M., Kasdan, A., Rowland, J., Vessel, E. A., Starr, G. G., & Poeppel, D. (2018). Rapid Timing of Musical Aesthetic Judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000474

Vessel, E. A., Maurer, N., Denker, A. H., & Starr, G. G. (2018). Stronger shared taste for natural aesthetic domains than for artifacts of human culture. Cognition179, 121–131. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.06.009

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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aca0000153

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

Awards & Grants


Grant from Google Arts & Culture


Beauty and Beyond Research Institute, Global Institute for Advanced Studies, NYU


Sensory stimulation augmentation tools for long duration exploration spaceflight, NASA


Speaker, World Science Festival


Postdoctoral NRSA award (NEI)


Predoctoral NRSA USC Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience Training Grant


Fellow Dartmouth Summer Institute, Cognitive sciences