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Aesthetic Brain Research Group

Aesthetic Brain

Aesthetic appreciation is a central aspect of our life. We constantly evaluate the surrounding environment and we establish (often unconsciously) what we like and dislike. Preference for social features (face/body attractiveness) and human-made products (artworks, architecture, fashion and design) has a great impact on our everyday decisions. Research in Psychology and Neuro-aesthetics aims to identify and explain mental and neural processes underpinning aesthetic experience in connection with personal and cultural factors. Current projects also investigate for the first time visual preference in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in collaboration with Autism Together. The impact of this research will be measured in terms of improvement of ASD individuals’ wellbeing by enhancing phenomena of appreciation for the environmental context in which they live. If you wish to receive updates on this projects, please contact Dr Letizia Palumbo.

The Aesthetic Brain Research Group (AeBRG) at Liverpool Hope University is a team of active researchers interested in perceptual and cognitive processes involved in pleasant and unpleasant responses for a variety of visual stimuli (abstract and figurative) as well as in the production of artistic material. We investigate these topics using behavioural and neuroscience tools.

If you are interested in getting involved in our research projects as student or research partner, we encourage you to contact Dr Letizia Palumbo.

Faculty collaborators

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

  • Dr Stewart Blakeway
  • Dr Andrew Foulkes
  • Dr Anna Kirpichnikova

External collaborators

  • Dr Marco Bertamini (University of Liverpool, UK)
  • Dr Giulia Rampone (University of Liverpool, UK)
  • Dr David Bimler (Massey University, New Zealand)
  • Dr Emma Gowen (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Prof Enric Munar (Universidad de las Islas Baleares, Spain)
  • Dr Ellen Poliakoff (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Prof Christoph Redies (University of Jena, Germany)
  • Prof Paul Silvia (University of North Carolina, USA)

Dr Letizia Palumbo

Cotter, K. N., Silvia, P. J., Bertamini, M., Palumbo, L., & Vartanian, O. (2017). Curve Appeal: Exploring Individual Differences in Preference for Curved Versus Angular Objects. i-Perception, 8(2), 1-17.

Makin A.D.J., Wright, D., Rampone, G., Palumbo, L., Guest, M.,Sheehan, R., Cleaver, H., & Bertamini, M. (2016). An electrophysiological index of perceptual goodness. Cerebral Cortex, doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw255.

Palumbo, L., & Bertamini, M. (2016). The curvature effect: a comparison between preference tasks. Empirical Studies of the Art, 34, 35-52.

Palumbo, L., Bertamini, M., & Makin, A. J. (2015). Scaling of the extrastriate neural response to symmetry. Vision Research, 117, 1-8.

Palumbo, L., Odgen, R., Makin, A., J., & Bertamini, M. (2015). Does preference for abstract patterns relate to information processing and perceived duration? i-Perception, 6(5), 1-16.

Palumbo, L., Ruta, N., & Bertamini, M. (2015). Comparing angular and curved shapes in terms of implicit associations and approach/avoidance responses. PLoS One, 10(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140043.

Bertamini, M. & Palumbo, L. (2015).? The aesthetics of curvature in historical context. In Art and its role in the history of the Balkans (between durability and transientisms). Published by Faculty of Philosophy, Kosovska Mitrovica, University of Pristina. ISBN: 978-86-6349-034-5

Bertamini, M., Palumbo, L., Gheorghes, T., N., & Galatsidas, M. (2015). Do observers like curvature or do they dislike angularity? British Journal of Psychology, DOI:10.1111/bjop.12132.

Prof Galina Paramei

Paramei G. V., & van Leeuwen, C., Eds. (2013-2016). Color and form perception: Straddling the boundary. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:104.doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00104

Bimler, D. L., Snellock, M., & Paramei G. V. Art expertise in construing meaning of representational and abstract artworks (in preparation).

Paramei, G. V., D’Orsi, M., & Menegaz G. (2016). ‘Italian blues’: Does bilingualism modulate colour categories? Journal of the International Colour Association, 15 (accepted, minor revision).

Paggetti, G., Menegaz, G., & Paramei G. V. (2016). Color naming in Italian language. Color Research & Application, 41. Early View, doi: 10.1002/col.21953.

Chassy, P., Lindell, T. A. E., Jones, J., & Paramei G. V. (2015). A relationship between visual complexity and aesthetic appraisal of car front images: An eye-tracker study. Perception, 44,1085-1097.

Paramei, G. V., D’Orsi, M., & Menegaz, G. (2014). ‘Italian blues’: A challenge to the universal inventory of basic colour terms. Journal of the International Colour Association, 13, 27-35.

Paramei, G. V., & Oakley, B. (2014). Variation of chromatic discrimination across the lifespan. Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 31, A375-A384.

Bimler, D. L., Paramei, G. V., Feitosa-Santana, C., Oiwa, N., & Ventura, D. F. (2014). Saturation-specific pattern of acquired colour vision deficiency in two clinical populations revealed by the method of triads. Color Research & Application, 39, 125-135.

Mylonas, D., Paramei, G. V., & MacDonald, L. (2014). Gender differences in colour naming. In: W. Anderson, C. P. Biggam, C. A. Hough, C. J. Kay (Eds.), Colour Studies: A Broad Spectrum (pp. 225-239). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Dr Neil Harrison

Harrison, N.R., Jones, J., & Davies, S. (2017). Systematic distortions in vertical placement of features in drawings of faces and houses. i-Perception, 8, 1-13.

Harrison, N. R., & Clark, D. (2016). The observing facet of trait mindfulness predicts frequency of aesthetic experiences evoked by the arts. Mindfulness, doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0536-6.

Congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA 2018)

On 11th June 2018 we spent a wonderful day attending the 4th Edition of the "Visual Properties Driving Visual Preference" workshop at the University of Liverpool.

We are delighted to announce that the 5th edition of this workshop will be held at Liverpool Hope University in 2018-19 academic year. Dates will be available soon.