Visual Neuroaesthetics (VisNA) Lab

What does it mean for a painting to fill us with wonder, for a sunset to be beautiful or for a film to move us? Why do some visual experiences have the power to reach inside and grab us, while others leave little impression? How can we measure these experiences scientifically?

In the VisNA Lab, we study the psychological and neural basis of aesthetic experiences, such as when a person is aesthetically “moved” by visual art, poetry, architecture, music, or natural landscapes. Much of our research relies on brain imaging (fMRI, EEG) and behavioral techniques. We also frequently use computational tools (e.g. machine learning), measurements of physiology and eyetracking. 

Our core research areas are:

  • Identifying the central cognitive and emotional processes that underly aesthetic experiences and the interacting neural systems that support them.
  • Characterizing the conditions that lead to “shared taste” across a population of individuals in different aesthetic domains.
  • Development of methods for studying aesthetic experiences in more naturalistic settings such as museums and performance halls.


Want to volunteer for our studies?

Go here to sign up for the Institute's Research Participant Registry.



Wie wirkt ein Kunstwerk auf seine Betrachter:innen? Und was spielt sich dabei im Gehirn ab?


Wie wird ein Blick in die Natur zu einem beeindruckenden Erlebnis?


Das Betrachten von Gemälden kann kreative Prozesse anregen



Visual Neuroaesthetics Symposium (VisNA) 2018

In this symposium, we will bring together the experts in the field of visual neuroaesthetics to discuss recent experimental advances and identify new directions for future research. The primary focus will be neuroimaging investigations of visual aesthetic experiences. This includes experiences with visual art, architecture, photography, sculpture, film and dance, as well as non-artistic stimuli such as landscapes, faces and abstract patterns. In addition, work using other neuroscience methods will be included as well as foundational behavioral or computational work that is informative for neuroscientific inquiry and theory.


IAEA 2021 Virtual Conference

Check out VisNA lab work at the International Association for Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) 2021 Virtual Conference


Our Studies

Keine Nachrichten verfügbar.


Edward A. Vessel

Team Leader

Ayse Ilkay Isik

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dominik Welke

PhD Candidate


Latest Publications

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