The world can look better: enhancing beauty experience with brain stimulation

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Cattaneo, Z; Lega, C; Flexas, A; Nadal, M; Munar, E; Cela-Conde, CJ
Year of Publication: 2013
Journal: Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci
Edition: 2013/10/18
Date Published: Nov 12
Publication Language: Eng
ISBN Number: 1749-5024 (Electronic)17
Accession Number: 24132459

Aesthetic appreciation is part of our everyday life: it is a subjective judgment we make when looking at a painting, a landscape, or-in fact-at another person. Neuroimaging and electrophysiological evidence suggests that the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a critical role in aesthetic judgments. Here, we show that the experience of beauty can be artificially enhanced with brain stimulation. Specifically, we show that aesthetic appreciation of representational paintings and photographs can be increased by applying anodal (excitatory) transcranial direct current stimulation on the left DLPFC. Our results thus show that beauty is in the brain of the beholder, and offer a novel view on the neural networks underlying aesthetic appreciation.


Cattaneo, ZairaLega, CarlottaFlexas, AlbertNadal, MarcosMunar, EnricCela-Conde, Camilo JSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2013 Nov 12.

Alternate Journal: Social cognitive and affective neuroscience
Author Address:

Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo 1, 20126, Milano, Italy.