Helmut Leder

Helmut Leder
University of Vienna | UniWien · Institut für Psychologische Grundlagenforschung und Forschungsmethoden

Prof. Dr.

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267
Publications
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Publications

Publications (267)
Article
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Vocal and facial cues typically co-occur in natural settings, and multisensory processing of voice and face relies on their synchronous presentation. Psychological research has examined various facial and vocal cues to attractiveness as well as to judgements of sexual dimorphism, health, and age. However, few studies have investigated the interacti...
Article
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Understanding consciousness is a major frontier in the natural sciences. However, given the nuanced and ambiguous sets of conditions regarding how and when consciousness appears to manifest, it is also one of the most elusive topics for investigation. In this context, we argue that research in empirical aesthetics—specifically on the experience of...
Article
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Background Despite severe cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease (AD), aesthetic preferences in AD patients seem to retain some stability over time, similarly to healthy controls. However, the underlying mechanisms of aesthetic preference stability in AD remain unclear. We therefore aimed to study the role of emotional valence of stimuli for...
Article
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For centuries, Western philosophers have argued that aesthetic experiences differ from common, everyday pleasing sensations, and further, that mental states, such as disinterested contemplation and aesthetic distance, underlie these complex experiences. We empirically tested whether basic perceptual processes of information intake reveal evidence f...
Article
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Art, as a prestigious cultural commodity, concerns aesthetic and monetary values, personal tastes, and social reputation in various social contexts-all of which are reflected in choices concerning our liking, or in other contexts, our actual willingness-to-pay for artworks. But, how do these different aspects interact in regard to the concept of so...
Article
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The pain- and stress-reducing effects of music are well-known, but the effects of visual art, and the combination of these two, are much less investigated. We aim to (1) investigate the pain- and (2) stress-reducing effects of multimodal (music + visual art) aesthetic experience as we expect this to have stronger effects than a single modal aesthet...
Article
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Research has failed to find evidence for a genuineness effect: the idea that aesthetic experiences are better when looking at real artworks versus reproductions of those artworks. One common explanation for this lack of an effect is the facsimile accommodation hypothesis. This hypothesis states that people can “look past” the limitations of a repro...
Article
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Digital images taken by mobile phones are the most frequent class of images created today. Due to their omnipresence and the many ways they are encountered, they require a specific focus in research. However, to date, there is no systematic compilation of the various factors that may determine our evaluations of such images, and thus no explanation...
Chapter
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In this chapter, the authors report on how they joined in the exciting project to lay the theoretical foundations describing aesthetic experiences with artwork. Their 2017 paper was a culmination of meetings, later intense collaboration in Vienna’s empirical aesthetic research group, and the convergence of the models that the authors had independen...
Article
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We present a unique opportunity to test the ability of artists to systematically evoke emotions in an audience via art and, transversely, for viewers to pick out intentions of the artist. This follows a recent article which had shown this connection using installation artworks by MFA student-artists. However, this earlier article had left open ques...
Article
Hedonic evaluation of sensory objects varies from person to person. While this variability has been linked to differences in experience, little is known about why stimuli lead to different evaluations in different people. We used linear mixed-effects models to determine the extent to which the openness, contour, and ceiling height of interior space...
Article
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In recent years, understanding psychological constructs as network processes has gained considerable traction in the social sciences. In this paper, we propose the aesthetic effects network (AEN) as a novel way to conceptualize aesthetic experience. The AEN represents an associative process where having one association leads to the next association...
Preprint
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Hedonic evaluation of sensory objects varies from person to person. While this variability has been linked to differences in experience and personality traits, little is known about why stimuli lead to different evaluations in different people. We used linear mixed effect models to determine the extent to which the openness, contour, and ceiling he...
Article
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A rather well-accepted finding from museum studies is that repeated art viewing may be tied to reduced attention towards art as individuals see more-and-more stimuli. This attention decrease from repeated art viewing appears to be a basic consequence of interaction with media. Considering lab-based studies in empirical and psychological aesthetics...
Article
Studies have routinely shown that individuals spend more time spontaneously looking at people or at mimetic scenes that they subsequently judge to be more aesthetically appealing. This “beauty demands longer looks” phenomenon is typically explained by biological relevance, personal utility, or other survival factors, with visual attraction often dr...
Article
Full-text available
The paper got accepted to Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts in Febuary 2020. Pre-print can be found here: 10.2139/ssrn.3434578 NOTE: that this is therefore also a provisiory file and not the final typeset article.
Article
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When an observer perceives and judges two persons next to each other, different types of social cues simultaneously arise from both perceived faces. Using a controlled stimulus set depicting this scenario (with two persons identified respectively as “target face” and “looking face”), we explored how emotional expressions, gaze, and head direction o...
Article
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There is increasing awareness that the perception of art is affected by the way it is presented.In 2018, the Austrian Gallery Belvedere redisplayed its permanent collection. Our multidisciplinary team seized this opportunity to investigate the viewing behavior of specific artworks both before and after the museum’s rearrangement. In contrast to pre...
Article
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The idea that simple visual elements such as colors and lines have specific, universal associations—for example red being warm—appears rather intuitive. Such associations have formed a basis for the description of artworks since the 18th century and are still fundamental to discourses on art today. Art historians might describe a painting where red...
Article
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This study set out to investigate whether and how aesthetic evaluations of different types of symmetric, as well as abstract vs. representational patterns are modulated by art expertise. To this end, we utilized abstract asymmetric, symmetric, and “broken” patterns slightly deviating from symmetry, as well as more representational patterns resembli...
Article
The article examines an experimental survey that was conducted by Wassily Kandinsky and his students of the wall painting workshop at the Bauhaus Weimar in 1923. In his theoretical writings on art, Kandinsky had assumed there to be direct correspondences between basic colors (yellow, red, blue) and forms (triangle, square, circle), and he operation...
Article
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We investigate the potential for modulations in art assessment, involving either "bottom-up" artwork-derived visual features or more overt "top-down" considerations based on personal history or taste. Such changes-whereby individuals might come to relatively increase or decrease their liking of the same works of art-have been suggested in recent ar...
Preprint
Full-text available
The paper got accepted to Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts in Febuary 2020. Pre-print can be found here; 10.2139/ssrn.3434578 NOTE: that this is therefore also a provisiory file and not the final typeset article.
Article
Full-text available
Sublime encounters provide a compelling example of the peaks of our shared emotional and cognitive experiences. For centuries, these have been a target for philosophy and, more recently, for psychology, with its renewed focus on profound or aesthetic events. The sublime has been theoretically connected to multiple contexts, from interactions with o...
Article
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The visual aesthetics of an object increases visual attention towards the object. It is argued that this relation between liking and attention is an evolutionary adaptation in sexual and natural selection. If this is the case, we would expect this relation to be domain specific, and thus, stronger for biological than for non-biological objects. To...
Article
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Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating diagnosis with, however, potential for an extremely intriguing aesthetic component. Despite motor and cognitive deficits, an emerging collection of studies report a burst of visual artistic output and alterations in produced art in a subgroup of patients. This provides a unique window into the neurophysiolo...
Article
Neuroaesthetics is a rapidly developing interdisciplinary field of research that aims to understand the neural substrates of aesthetic experience: While understanding aesthetic experience has been an objective of philosophers for centuries, it has only more recently been embraced by neuroscientists. Recent work in neuroaesthetics has revealed that...
Article
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Studies found that genuine artworks viewed in a museum receive higher appreciation ratings than reproductions in the laboratory. Due to the mutual variation of context and genuineness, these studies were not able to disentangle these factors. A study designed by Brieber, Leder, and Nadal to systematically differentiate between these two variables d...
Article
Psychological models conceive aesthetic experiences as a sequence of cognitive and emotional processes unfolding over time. Previous studies focused either on effects of presentation time on art experience or on effects of art experience on viewing time. Here, we examined both directions. Three groups of participants (undergrad psychology students)...
Article
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Facial attractiveness captures and binds visual attention, thus affecting visual exploration of our environment. It is often argued that this effect on attention has evolutionary functions related to mating. Although plausible, such perspectives have been challenged by recent behavioral and eye-tracking studies, which have shown that the effect on...
Data
Results–larger LMMs. Reasoning for and results of additional LMMs using total fixation duration as dependent variable and including attractiveness as an independent factor. (DOCX)
Article
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The present study is a pre-registered replication of a study by Specker et al. (2018) that tests the hypothesis that brightness of colors is associated with positivity. Our results showed an implicit association between brightness and positivity in both Study 1 and Study 2, however, an explicit association between brightness and positivity was only...
Article
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Humans appear naturally inclined to both broadcasting and to perceiving each other’s emotional experiences. Especially in the area of empathy or emotion contagion, studies have routinely documented our ability to respond to others’ affective states, often via faces or bodies. This can occur on an intellectual level of perceiving emotion signs or ca...
Article
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Being interested in art and having knowledge about art are arguably central dimensions in art experience and two of the most important individual differences when assessing how people process or respond to art. Nonetheless, there is to date no reliable and validated measurement of these dimensions. In this paper, we present the Vienna Art Interest...
Article
The sublime is an enduring concept in Western aesthetic discourse and is often portrayed such as in Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful of 1759 as a delightful horror, a kind of enjoyment based on negative emotions. In the current article, the relationship between sublimity and fear was e...
Article
First impressions from faces emerge quickly and shape subsequent behaviour. Given that different pictures of the same face evoke different impressions, we asked whether presentation order affects the overall impression of the person. In three experiments, we presented naturally varying photos of a person’s face in ascending (low-to-high) or descend...
Article
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Installation art is one of the most important and provocative developments in the visual arts during the last half century and has become a key focus of artists and of contemporary museums. It is also seen as particularly challenging or even disliked by many viewers, and—due to its unique in situ, immersive setting—is equally regarded as difficult...
Conference Paper
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Pervasive mobile eye tracking provides a rich data source to investigate human natural behavior, providing a high degree of ecological validity in natural environments. However, challenges and limitations intrinsic to unconstrained mobile eye tracking makes its development and usage to some extent an art. Nonetheless, researchers are pushing the bo...
Article
To date the complexity of an image is most often equated with its visual complexity. However, recent studies have shown that when it comes to artworks, complexity ratings are also influenced by semantic processes. The present study investigates the relationship between perceived image complexity and content-related processes in paintings by compari...
Article
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Scientific disciplines as diverse as biology, physics, and psychological aesthetics regard symmetry as one of the most important principles in nature and one of the most powerful determinants of beauty. However, symmetry has a low standing in the arts and humanities. This difference in the valuation of symmetry is a remarkable illustration of the g...
Article
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Free Link for 50 days: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001691817302299 The present study investigates the hypothesis that brightness of colors is associated with positivity, postulating that this is an automatic and universal effect. The Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) was used in all studie...
Article
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A controversial hypothesis, named the Sexualized Body Inversion Hypothesis (SBIH), claims similar visual processing of sexually objectified women (i.e., with a focus on the sexual body parts) and inanimate objects as indicated by an absence of the inversion effect for both type of stimuli. The current study aims at shedding light into the mechanism...
Article
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Drawing or otherwise making visual art is one of our most unique distinctions from other animals and acts as an empirical window into human perception, creativity, and thought. Despite its importance, art production has rarely been investigated in empirical studies, which have instead focused on realistic copying or comparison of those with differi...
Article
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In perception, humans typically prefer symmetrical over asymmetrical patterns. Yet, little is known about differences in symmetry preferences depending on individuals’ different past histories of actively reflecting upon pictures and patterns. To address this question, we tested the generality of the symmetry preference for different levels of indi...
Chapter
Recent developments in neuroaesthetics have heightened the need for causative approaches to more deeply understand the mechanism underlying perception, emotion, and aesthetic experiences. This has recently been the topic for empirical work, employing several causative methods for changing brain activity, as well as comparative assessments of indivi...
Article
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Much evidence suggests that preference for curvilinear visual contour is robust. We collected data from experts (i.e., self-identified architects and designers) and nonexperts to test the hypothesis that expertise moderates one’s sensitivity to curvilinear contour within architectural spaces. When assessing beauty, experts found rectilinear spaces...
Article
With respect to the Distancing-Embracing model, we discuss whether experts with well-developed and highly accessible schemata that lend themselves to distancing have initial affective reactions similar to those of novices, who lack access to well-developed distancing mechanisms, and whether differences between experts' and novices' responses are ap...
Article
Full-text available
Visual complexity is relevant for many areas ranging from improving usability of technical displays or websites up to understanding aesthetic experiences. Therefore, many attempts have been made to relate objective properties of images to perceived complexity in artworks and other images. It has been argued that visual complexity is a multidimensio...
Data
Comparison of prediction models for Stimulus Set 1 by explained variance (R2) using data from Table 3. Note that the linear model using non-linear transformed mirror symmetry (MSA20) and RMSGIF as predictors performs almost as good as the random forest models. (TIF)
Data
Correlation matrix of all predictors and mean ratings of visual complexity (“Complexity.MN”) for Stimulus Set 2. Dark and circle-shaped ellipses represent low correlations, while bright and slender ellipses represent high correlations. Right-inclined ellipses depict positive and left-inclined ellipses negative correlations. Note that the correlatio...
Data
Stimulus properties of Stimulus Set 2. Text file with tab-separated values. First row contains variable names. Variables are the same as in S1 Dataset. (DAT)
Data
Some examples of the non-linear transformation functions applied to the four mirror symmetry measures of the four possible symmetry axes. Considering that x = 0 corresponds to asymmetry, and x = 1.0 to full symmetry, these transforms assign more influence to small deviations from symmetry. Note that power and exponential functions lead to quite sim...
Data
Fixed effects estimates (top), random effects variance estimates (middle), and information criteria (bottom) of linear mixed effects models predicting visual complexity for Stimulus Set 1. (DOCX)