research category_artNdesign



In recent years, some neuroscientists and psychologists have expressed the view that artists are, in effect, ‘neuroscientists’ who have discovered perceptual principles embodied by neural events in the brain. To quote one advocate of this view, ‘Artistic license taps into the simplified physics used by our brain to recognize everyday scenes…’ (Cavanagh, 2005, p. 301). This focus on the brain is not meant to deny the importance of socio-cultural and economic influences on artistic expression and appreciation. Rather, this view underscores that experiencing art is fundamentally a perceptual act that emerges from neuronal events. It is not surprising, therefore, that the growing body of knowledge about the visual nervous system has invited conjecture about the neurosensory events underlying the experience of and fascination with visual art (Cavanagh, 2005; Livingstone, 2002).


We have been studying the neural underpinnings of perception of art and design by exploiting fMRI.

Published works include,

  • Chang, S., Kim, C-Y., & Cho, Y-S. (2017) Sequential effects in preference decision: Prior preference assimilates current preference. PLoS One,12(8).

  • Sung, Y. S., Choi, M., Kim, H., Lee, Y., & Kim, C-Y. (2011) Beyond visual experience; Brain activity reflecting implied sense in product designs. Japanese Psychological Research, 53(4), 349-360.

  • Song, J., Kwak, Y., & Kim, C.-Y. (2021) Familiarity and novelty in aesthetic preference: the effects of the properties of the artwork and the beholder. Frontiers in Psychology, 12:694927.


  • Brain activity associated with preferences for artworks depending on the context of human or AI creators

  • Learning-induced brain plasticity associated with perception of implied motion in abstract paintings

  • Designing 3D object based on visual-olfactory-haptic correspondence 


Our research on art/design and the brain has been supported by NRF research grants including

  • Application of visual-olfactory-haptic cross-modal correspondence in customer reward item design (Year 2020, AMOREPACIFIC corporation) 

  • Deeper Dream: A study on human preference of artworks by measuring responses to AI-based artworks (Years 2016-2019, NRF-2016S1A5A2A01023762).

  • Visual Feast – Art, Eyes, and the Brain (Years 2011-2013, NRF-2011-327-B00981).