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Journal of Cognitive Psychology

Special Issue Aesthetics Matters: Looking for a Genuine Role of Beauty on Performance

Guest Editors

Irene Reppa, Swansea University, UK, [email protected]

Andreas Sonderegger, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, [email protected]


Aesthetic appeal is important because it influences many aspects of our daily experience and behaviour. We actively seek to surround ourselves with objects that we find pleasing to our senses. We go to art galleries for new aesthetic experiences and bring beautiful things into our homes. When we look at something aesthetically pleasing, it can compel us to interact with it, and make us want to spend time with it and to buy it. Aesthetically appealing scenes, buildings, objects, and interfaces can lighten our mood and have more profound effects on our longer-term well-being.

Apart from its influences on our experience and behaviour, aesthetic appeal can influence our performance. In tasks where speed and accuracy matter, such as visual search, search-and-localisation, as well as learning and memory tasks, interacting with appealing stimuli can enhance our performance relative to unappealing stimuli.

  • Theoretical discussions of the basic psychological processes (e.g., positive affect, reward, motivation, learning) that may act as the mechanism behind the effects of appeal on performance.
  • Empirical studies examining the mechanism by which appeal (visual, tactile, auditory) might improve performance.
  • Empirical studies of aesthetic appeal on facets of cognition such as attention, memory and learning, affect and well-being.
  • Longitudinal studies of effects of appeal on performance and behaviour.
  • Examinations of the practical effects of appeal on performance in real-life contexts.
  • Investigations on individual and cultural differences in whether and how appeal might influence performance.


Article Proposals

Proposals are welcome for Full (Regular) Articles, Brief Articles, and Reviews in any cognitive domain related to aesthetics and its influence on human experience and behaviour.

Abstracts of proposals for articles are limited to 300 words. The deadline for abstract proposals is December 21st 2021. Please send these abstract proposals directly to both Irene Reppa ([email protected]) and Andreas Sonderegger ([email protected]).


Estimated Timeline for Special Issue

  • Call for abstract proposals open from September 13th 2021 to December 21st 2021
  • Acceptance of proposals begins January 10th 2022
  • Invited submissions based on proposals due by April 18th 2022
  • Review process from April 18th to October 17th 2022
  • Anticipated publication date: February 2023

Intended Audience

This Special Issue will be relevant to those who are interested in aesthetics and more generally in the evaluative aspects of perception and performance.


Routledge Psychology