Empirical Psycho-Aesthetics and Her Sisters: Substantive and Methodological Issues—Part II


Empirical psycho-aesthetics is approached in this two-part article from two directions. Part I, which appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of JAE, addressed definitional and organizational issues, including the field's origins, its relation to "sister" disciplines (experimental philosophy, cognitive neuroscience of art, and neuroaesthetics), and its role in a number of current debates about the substantive, methodological, and science-practice problems of interest to these various disciplines--with philosophical aesthetics as a backdrop. On the other hand, the complementary part II of the article, in this issue, has an empirical emphasis. Five groups of research studies illustrate the topics discussed in part I and facilitate a constructive dialogue with philosophical aesthetics and neuroaesthetics. The work involves a variety of art domains and a broad range of psycho-aesthetic topics, methods, and techniques. The five groups of studies are (1) empirical tests of major claims made by aestheticians and artists; (2) using portraiture to obtain an empirical handle on the creative process; (3) the classical topic of the "golden section" as an exploratory ground for a variety of old and new psycho-aesthetic methods; (4) research on music-induced "thrills" (or "chills") using psycho-aesthetic and neuroimaging techniques; and (5) multifaceted research involving the concept of "aesthetic episode."