Dr. Maria E. Kraxenberger

Research Interests

  • Phonological Iconicity / Sound Symbolism
  • Aesthetic emotions
  • Language and emotion
  • Structural analysis of poetry
  • Quantitative, empirical studies of literature


Academic Education

05/2017Dr. phil., Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
10/2011Doctoral Student for Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin
02/2010Magister Artium, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany
2004-2010Magister program: Comparative Literature, Transnational German Language and Literature Studies, and communication at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany

Professional Experience

Since 10/2016Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Since 10/2014Scholarship at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2013-2014Visiting student researcher at Stanford University, Palo Alto C.A. at the "Stanford LitLab"
2011-2014Scholarship at the research cluster "Languages of Emotion", Freie Universität Berlin




Journal Articles

Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2017). Affinity for Poetry and Aesthetic Appreciation of Joyful and Sad Poems. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2051. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02051

Ullrich, S., Aryani, A., Kraxenberger, M., Jacobs, A. M., & Conrad, M. (2017). On the Relation between the General Affective Meaning and the Basic Sublexical, Lexical, and Inter-lexical Features of Poetic Texts—A Case Study Using 57 Poems of H. M. Enzensberger. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2073. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02073

Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2016). Emotional effects of poetic phonology, word positioning and dominant stress peaks in poetry reading. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2), 298-313.  doi:10.1075/ssol.6.2.06kra

Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2016). Mimological Reveries? Disconfirming the Hypothesis of Phono-Emotional Iconicity in Poetry. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1779.  doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01779

Aryani, A., Kraxenberger, M., Ullrich, S., Jacobs, A. M., & Conrad, M. (2016). Measuring the Basic Affective Tone of Poems via Phonological Saliency and Iconicity. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 10(2), 191-204. doi:10.1037/aca0000033

Kraxenberger, M. (2014). Jakobson Revisited: Poetic Distinctiveness, Modes of Operation, and Perception. Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 8(1).  doi:10.4396/20140603


Kraxenberger, M. (2017). On Sound-Emotion Associations in Poetry. (Doctoral dissertation), Freie Universität Berlin. 

Book Sections

Kraxenberger, M. (in press). Erotic Romances: An Emerging Subgenre Succeeding Fifty Shades. In A. Brock, J. Pflaeging, & P. Schildhauer (Eds.), Genre Emergence. Frankfurt (Main): Peter Lang.

Kraxenberger, M. (in press). Gelesen wie gesprochen: Überlegungen zur Gedichtrezeption als prosodisches (Text-)Gerede im Inneren. In D-C. Assmann & N. Menzel (Eds.), Textgerede. Interferenzen von Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit in der deutschsprachigen Literatur der Jahrtausendwende. Paderborn: Fink.

Kraxenberger, M., & Mennighaus, W. (in press). Mimologische Träumereien? Über ikonische Assoziationen von Klang und Gefühlswahrnehmung in Gedichten. In D. Scherf & A. Bertschi-Kaufmann (Eds.), Ästhetische Rezeptionsprozesse aus didaktischer Perspektive. Weinheim u. a: Beltz Juventa.

Kraxenberger, M. (2017). Empirische Forschungsmethoden für Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache. Eine Einführung. Stuttgart: UTB 2014. In J. Settinieri, S. Demirkaya, A. Feldmeier, N. Gültekin-Karakoç, & C. Riemer (Eds.), Info DaF, Informationen Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Vol. 44, pp. 408-410). Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

Kraxenberger, M. (2012). Angst im Anschluss an 9/11 [Fear following 9/11]. In J. Stubenböck & L. Waldhof (Eds.), nine eleven [=Sprachraum 6] (pp. 51-72). Innsbruck: Studia Universitätsverlag.



  • Iconic relations of sound and emotional meaning in poetry

    Are there affective sounds in poetry that differ between joyful and sad poems? Or, in other words, is there a connection between sound and meaning in poetry – a phenomenon often referred to today by the term "phonological iconicity"? What ...

  • Behavioral, physiological and neural substrates of parallelistic diction

    In a series of studies we investigate the behavioral and physiological effects as well as the neural substrates of the numerous features of parallelistic diction (such as alliteration, meter, anaphora, and many others), as used in poetry, proverbs, ...

  • Getting to grips with erotic bestsellers

    Novels with explicit depictions of sexual acts and thoughts have been popular for a long time. In recent years, large digital fan communities have evolved that communicate about the reading of erotic bestsellers. This boom gives rise to the following ...