Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Department of Psychology
University of Pennsylvania
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Scene Aesthetics
My research focuses on the neural correlates of category-specific and category-general signals related to evaluations of subjective beauty/attractiveness. Specifically, what happens in the brain when people make subjective judgments of scene beauty? How does this neural activity compare to when people make subjective judgments about other things, such as faces or objects?
In a second line of research, I am exploring the behavioral and neural underpinning of "restorative" scenes. Why are many people refreshed after taking a walk through nature but not through an urban environment? Is it that a person's attention "resources" have the chance to replenish? Does a person's motivational or emotional state change? Both? What inferences can we make about the restorative process by looking at neural activity?