Bottom-up and top-down routes of affective auditory and visual processing

Project: Research

  • Brattico, Elvira (Participant)
  • Tiihonen, Marianne (Participant)
  • Jacobsen, Thomas (Participant)
See relations at Aarhus University


Recent frameworks accounting for aesthetic experiences of music and visual art, postulate that aesthetic responses originate from a temporal succession of neural and psychological processes starting as an unconscious, low-level affective reaction before resulting in a conscious evaluation (Brattico et al., 2013). In certain instances, it might happen that the affective quality and behavioral response of the first affective reaction is not in line with the conscious, felt emotion, or with the resulting affective judgement. Particularly, aesthetic pleasure derived from visual-art and music can be based on sensory pleasure, as well as on conscious processes of attribution of meaning to the artistic object. Yet, there is only little empirical data on the relationship of sensory and interpretational phases of affective processing of musical and visual art. Previous brain studies on visual patterns have demonstrated that, e.g. the judgement of beauty involves also the spontaneous evaluation of the symmetry and complexity of the stimuli, yet additionally it has been shown that the judgement of the same stimuli recruits also areas which use internal information as a reference when making the judgements. In turn, several music studies have demonstrated that the emotional impact of music on humans partly relies on reflex-like neural responses and that simple musical stimuli are rated for affect in an automatized manner. Our aim is to investigate whether top-down processing is required when engaging with music or visual art, and to which degree the affective judgement of musical and visual stimuli differ from one another. To this aim, we measure evoked response fields (ERF) by means of magnetoencephalography (MEG) in healthy adult participants.
Effective start/end date01/02/2017 → …

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ID: 129074759