Cognition, Brain, & Behavior presents: "From Perception to Emotion: Understanding Aesthetic Experience" a talk by Amy Belfi


Location: B16 Haggar Hall

ABSTRACT: Aesthetic experience lies at the intersection of perception, emotion, and decision-making: while understanding aesthetic experience has been traditionally an objective of philosophers, it is also rightly a topic of interest to psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists. A central theme in my research is to explore how a perceptual object with no obvious evolutionary benefits, such as music, still induces strong affective responses on a near-universal level. In this talk, I will present several lines of work that focus on various aspects of the aesthetic experience. First, I will discuss the relationship between music and vivid, emotional autobiographical memories. Next, I will consider what happens when brain damage disrupts the ability to experience pleasure from music. Finally, I will discuss a series of studies investigating how we make aesthetic judgments of music, paintings, and poetry. Using a combination of experimental techniques, including neuropsychology, psychophysics, and psychophysiology, my work identifies how emotions are influenced by the arts.