Correlating Beauty and Two Measures of Pleasure
26.3045, Saturday, 16-May, 2:45 pm - 6:45 pm, Banyan Breezeway
Lauren Vale1, Gernot Gerger2, Helmut Leder2, Denis Pelli1; 1Psychology Dept. and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 2Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna
When you look at your beauty and I look at mine, do we have the same feeling? Kant (1764) and Santayana (1896) say that the experience of beauty is pleasure, with qualifications. So we measure pleasure. Observers use Google Images to find an image that is beautiful to them. The observer is asked to look at that image and rate pleasure by continually adjusting the spread of two fingers to track the decaying pleasure they feel from the image. We record both the finger spread rating (on smartphone screen using our emotiontracker.net) and facial muscle activity (fEMG, facial electromyography of M. corrugator supercilii and M. zygomaticus major). We find a high correlation between the feeling of beauty (or liking) and fEMG and finger-rating responses. The rating correlation is 80% until 90 s after stimulus offset. This consistent finding across observers suggests that the two physiological responses, one overt and the other automatic, both track the pleasure of beauty.