Towards a neural basis of aesthetic emotions (417)

Emotional experience during listening to music or reading is a major motivation to consume music and literature in everyday life. This interrelation provides us with valuable opportunities to study neural correlates of emotion.

Director:

Staff:

Three major strands structure our approach:

  1. The neural basis of emotion, in particular joy, sadness, and fear.

  2. Aesthetic aspects of emotional experiences, in particular
    - the supposed paradox of "pleasant sadness"
    - the aesthetic experience of tension-resolution patterns

  3. Neural commonalities between the emotional and aesthetic experience of music and literature beyond the neurocognitive analogies observed so far

The project uses functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) as a method to identify neural correlates of cognitive and affective processes, and peripheral-physiological measures (such as heart rate) to further specify biological effects of emotional and aesthetic experiences. Personality measures on emotional competencies and their impairment are used to specify relations between emotional personality and aesthetic experience.

Results will provide information about the neural basis of affective and aesthetic processes, the psychological and neural signature of "aesthetic emotions" and the affective and aesthetic experience of music and language.

Publications

Koelsch, S. (2011). Toward a neural basis of music perception – a review and updated model. Frontiers in Psychology 2 (110). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00110

Koelsch, S. (2010). Towards a neural basis of music-evoked emotions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14 (2). 131-137.

Perani, D., Saccuman, M. C., Scifo, P., Spada, D., Andreolli, G., Rovelli, R., Baldoli, C., Koelsch, S. (2010). Functional specialization for music processing in the human newborn brain. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107 (10). 4758-4763.

Perani, D., Saccuman, M. C., Scifo, P., Spada, D., Andreolli, G., Rovelli, R., Baldoli, C., Koelsch, S. (2010). Functional specializations for music processing in the human newborn brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (10). 4758-4763.