CognitionJournalMotivation and EmotionMotor SystemsSensory Systems

Neuroaesthetics

Moving aesthetic experiences may involve interactions between externally-focused networks (e.g. visual pathways, pink) and the internally focused default-mode network (DMN, yellow).

Neuroaesthetics uses the tools of psychology and neuroscience to understand the nature of aesthetic experiences, such as when a person is emotionally moved by artworks, landscapes or music. Aesthetic experiences engage processes of sensation, comprehension and valuation. Aesthetic appreciation is not determined solely by a stimulus, but by the interaction between a stimulus and a perceiver, in a manner dependent on their understanding and background knowledge. Aesthetic appreciation modulates a broad network of brain regions, including higher-level portions of sensory pathways, reward circuitry, the medial and orbital prefrontal cortex, and the default-mode network.


Vessel, E. A. (2020). Neuroaesthetics. In Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology (pp. 1–10). Elsevier.
This chapter will also be published as part of the forthcoming “Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience, 2nd Edition.”
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