Measuring neural and physiological responses to dynamically changing real-world aesthetic experiences

Aesthetic experiences with visual artwork often occur in real-world settings such as museums. Yet given the limitations of brain imaging technology, most of what we know about the neural and physiological basis of aesthetic experiences is derived from experiments using reproductions of static artworks on small computer screens, in laboratory settings. In this project, we are using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) along with physiological measurements (heart rate, skin conductance) to measure changes in neural and physiological systems as participants engage with a dynamically changing visual artwork. This will allow us to address central questions about how cognitive and affective processes are modulated during interaction with a naturalistically staged, continuously changing visual artistic experience.

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