The Psychology of Aesthetics

The Psychology of Aesthetics

Why does art evoke an hedonic response? As artists, Psychology Professors Steve Palmer and Art Shimamura have long been interested in what happens when we view art. They will share insights from their new book, Aesthetic Science, and seek your responses to their photography.

“Color, Music, and Emotion” (given at Google, June 30, 2011):

“Aesthetic Science of Color” (given at Stanford University, Feb. 11,

Steve Palmer’s photographs:

Art Shimamura’s photographs:


March 13, 2012 / 29 Comments / by / in
  • Nothing about Duchamps fountain was meant to be aesthetically pleasing, its a conceptual piece. It makes us think about what art is and challenges our notions of the very idea of "high art".


  • Study of Aesthetics? Where's Zyzz brah?

  • BURNING IN HELL Aesthetics

  • I came for the Zyzz

  • Joe

    Very interesting and educational, thanks for posting!


  • Fixed. Psychology of Mir'in

  • i have to do this shit for homework bro

  • One criticism…..

    You treat colors in isolation, as though a color were a unitary object, whereas perceptually, colors (it seems to me) are very much contextual. For example, one object is more or less blue than another, more or less red than another. What I'm trying to say is that perceptually and psychologically, color is perhaps, very likely, not constant, but rather relative.

  • Scientist really need to understand that especially contemporary works of art are not about matter, composition, color. Art constitutes a language, hence the work is trying to communicate something. All these elements are put in such a way in order to facilitate this communication, but they are not the work itself. Still, Shimamura's research might probably getting closer to the point. And indeed, MEMORY and its role in understanding the work has to be studied.

  • I enjoyed this, thank you….

  • the video is very informative thank you for sharing

  • The History of Aesthetic B. Bosanquet — rock!

  • His L's. Oh my lord, it was driving me crazy.

  • interesting presentations.

  • As a professional concept artist I've grown to understand.. "people like what they know they like". It's a strange thought yes but it means once someone like something they like all thing similar. This seems to happen in different levels, in context, like if someone likes oranges, they will like all art associated with oranges, high quality or low quality. Another level would be craftsmanship, example all art that shows a high level of skill to make is appealing weather the subject is an orange or a banana so long as it's done well it's liked. Another aspect could be what story is being told, but that also context. I feel people are more bound by social standards than they know when it comes to liking what they like. Often those choices are made unconsciously so they can't know, but the reason isn't so much the art. Think along this line, often people just want to be liked so they like the things that best enhance that experience. Consciously people would disagree with that, but not there actions. Stepping outside who you think you are relative to the world around is new territory, doing so is risky for anybody. Whether you spend your time staying on top of all trends in your niche culture, or just spend time studying techniques in the abstract…So context and quality, once a group picks a context then they fight is over quality. Just so a person can master the group and be associated with knowing it's best art to define that group.

  • 1:11:39, Chomsky?

  • how can I get on the mailing list?

  • Drawing conclusions based on what anonymous people like only muddies the process of figuring out what you like and why. No answers here.

  • This video gave me great notes for my Art Class. Thanks

  • The aesthetic part of the object is not necessary anymore in Modernist art, actually what i understand from art history class, is that this is the big difference between art before and after 20 century, when for the first time in history an artwork was not necessary intended for aesthetic evaluation.
    But i didn't understand what DO we evaluate. Creativity? Statement? Building effort? Neither of these don't seem like art by them selves and some modern art pieces have none.
    I do bellieve that you have to evaluate what the artist intends to be evaluated, so first you must understand this. Maybe i just don't understand.

  • Ritch Ivory? What a name..

  • I reckon that theres a factor that this guy isnt taking into account when he talks about colour associations to music – People could be subconsciously thinking of the colour of the instrument itself. So when they hear horns they might think of yellow, clarinets they might think of darker blues and browns, etc.

  • 7:18 this shit starts

  • Who has baby poo colored nipples? I thought pink was normal.

  • Would beauty have something to do with what we innately  find attractive in the opposite sex? There could b biological factor at play here!

  • Why do they use so many onomatopoeias instead of actual words? It is a very interesting presentation but both seem quite ignorant of visual lexicon.

  • The way I see it – art, whatever we may mean by that, is a human intended projection of meaning to whom it may concern. Artistic intentionality is importance in this regard.

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