The Routledge International Handbook of Neuroaesthetics is an authoritative reference work that provides the reader with a wide-ranging introduction to this exciting new scientific discipline. The book brings together leading international academics to offer a well-balanced overview of this burgeoning field while addressing two questions central to the field; how the brain computes aesthetic appreciation for sensory objects, and how is art created and experienced.

The editors, Martin Skov and Marcos Nadal, have compiled a neuroscientific, physiological, and psychological overview of the systems underlying the evaluation of sensory objects and aesthetic appreciation. Covering a variety of art forms mediated by vision, audition, movement, and language, the handbook puts forward a critical review of the current research to explain how and why perceptual and emotional processes are essential for art production. The work also unravels the interaction of art with expectations, experience and knowledge and the modulation of artistic appreciation through social and contextual settings, eventually bringing to light the potential of art to influence mental states, health, and wellbeing. The concepts are presented through research on the neural processes enabling artistic creativity, artistic expertise, and the evolution of symbolic cognition.

This handbook is a compelling read for anyone interested in making a first venture into this exciting new area of study and is best suited for students and researchers in the field of Neuroaesthetics, Perceptual Learning and Cognitive Psychology.




1 Neuroaesthetics as a scientific discipline: An intellectual history

Martin Skov



2 Sensory liking: How nervous systems assign hedonic value to sensory objects

Martin Skov

3 The neurobiology of liking

Eloise Stark, Kent C. Berridge and Morten L. Kringelbach

4 Disliking: From adaptive disgust to ugliness

Christoph Klebl, Michael Donner and Indra Bishnoi

5 The influence of interoceptive signals on the processing of external sensory stimuli

Alejandro Galvez-Pol, Enric Munar and James. M. Kilner

6 Neural correlates of visual aesthetic appeal

Edward A. Vessel, Tomohiro Ishizu and Giacomo Bignardi

7 Auditory pleasure elicited by music

Ernest Mas-Herrero

8 Odour aesthetics: Hedonic perception of olfactory stimuli

Gulce Nazli Dikecligil and Jay Gottfried

9 Movement appreciation

Kohinoor M. Darda, Ionela Bara and Emily S. Cross

10 The neuroscience of architecture: Beauty and behavior in the built environment

Alex Coburn, Adam Weinberger and Anjan Chatterjee

11 Sexual selection, aesthetic appreciation, and mate choice

Michael J. Ryan

12 Aesthetic sensitivity: Origin and development of an idea

Ana Clemente

13 The evolution of sensory valuation systems

Esther Ureña and Marcos Nadal



14 Perception and cognition in visual art experience

Rebecca Chamberlain

15 The music system

Amy M. Belfi and Psyche Loui

16 Watching and engaging in dance

Beatriz Calvo-Merino

17 Making sense of space: The neuroaesthetics of architecture

Zakaria Djebbara, Lars Brorson Fich and Giovanni Vecchiato

18 Literature and poetry

Arthur M. Jacobs

19 Narrative

Franziska Hartung

20 Music-evoked emotions: Their contribution to aesthetic experiences, health, and well-being

Liila Taruffi and Stefan Koelsch

21 The health benefits of art experience

Claire Howlin

22 Experiencing art in museums

Aniko Illes & Pablo P. L. Tinio

23 Context and complexity of aesthetic experiences: A neuroscientific view

Julia Crone and Helmut Leder

24 Experiencing art in social settings

Haeeun Lee and Guido Orgs

25 Top-down processes in art experience

Aenne A. Brielmann

26 Preferences need inferences: Learning, valuation, and curiosity in aesthetic experience

Sander van de Cruys, Jo Bervoets and Agnes Moors

27 Neuroscience of artistic creativity

Oshin Vartanian

28 Expertise and the brain of the performing artist

Fredrik Ullén

29 The evolution of symbolic material culture

Francesco d'Errico

30 Neuropsychology of art and aesthetics

Alejandro Dorado and Marcos Nadal