Experimental Aesthetics

Present Activities 

Members of the Centre have active interests in experimental aesthetics. This has given rise to various national and international collaborations ranging from a series of experiments on mere exposure effects and bad art to ones concerned with the nature of aesthetic terms (e.g., ‘beautiful’) as relative gradable adjectives.

Members of the Centre are more generally concerned with thinking about the inter-relations between empirical work (e.g., in psychology, cognitive science, economics) and philosophical aesthetics, in particular where, when and why one may cast light upon the other.

The Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics and Human Nature interdisciplinary research project is hosted by the Centre for Aesthetics. The project aims to uncover connections between aesthetics, morality, and communication with the aid of empirical methods.  

Past Activities Include

  • Sam Liao (Kansas State University), Visiting Scholar, July 2012.
  • Mark Phelan (Lawrence University), Visiting Scholar, December 2012.
  • Philosophical and Experimental Aesthetics Workshop, March 6th, Leeds Humanities Research Institute. Speakers included Helmut Leder (Psychology, Vienna), Chris McManus (Psychology, UCL) and Mario Pandelaere (Marketing, Ghent) Matthew Kieran (Leeds) Aaron Meskin (Leeds) and Margaret Moore (Leeds).
  • Experimental Philosophy Graduate/Early Career Workshop with Mark Phelan (Lawrence University), 5th December, Leeds Humanities Research Institute, 1 – 5 p.m.

    Presentations of 'Mere Exposure to Bad Art'

    To find out more about the initial 'mere exposure to bad art' experiment, please click here. Past presentations included

    • X-Phi UK 1st Annual Workshop, 15 September 2010, University of Bristol [nb: prior to experiment]
    • AHRC Aesthetics Project Workshop, 22 June 2011, Institute of Philosophy, London
    • X-Phi UK 2nd Annual Workshop, 17-18 September 2011, University of Sheffield
    • European Workshop on Experimental Philosophy, 7 October 2011, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
    • American Society for Aesthetics Annual Meeting, 29 October 2011, Tampa, FL
    • American Philosophical Association Eastern Division, 27-30 December 2011, Washington D.C (poster presentation in conjunction with Yale Experimental Philosophy Experiment Month)
    • University of Kent Aesthetics Research Group, 22 February 2012
    • International Summer School in Affective Sciences, NCCR Affective Sciences, Geneva, 22nd-30th August 2012