chapter  7
16 Pages

Empirical Psychology, Aesthetics, and Natural Sciences

The relationship between psychology and aesthetics is intimate, but as yet somewhat unexplored. However, there are a few remarkable examples that demonstrate this close relationship. Rudolph Arnheim (1904–2007) is probably the best known investigator that analyzed these two subjects in close connection to each other. There is also good reason to mention Daniel Berlyne (1924–1976) and the movement of experimental aesthetics. Yet some would probably say that experimental aesthetics died out after Berlyne’s death, but there are some laboratories around the world that are still following up his idea of developing an empirically based system of aesthetics. Berlyne, nonetheless, did not coin the term “experimental aesthetics.” It goes right back to Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801–1887), who focused on the perception of art and was the first to apply the term, even as the title of one of his books (Fechner, 1871/1978). In addition, Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920) declared experimental aesthetics to be one of the main areas in the experimental psychology that he and his colleagues developed in Leipzig at the end of the nineteenth century (Wundt, 1910, p. 293).