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Event-related potential P2 correlates of implicit aesthetic experience

Wang, Xiaoyia,b; Huang, Yujinga,b; Ma, Qingguoa,b; Li, Nanc

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283587161

Using event-related potential measures, the present study investigated the affective responses to aesthetic experience. To differentiate the objective aesthetic value from subjective aesthetic evaluation, an amended oddball task was used in which pendant pictures were presented as frequent nontarget stimuli, whereas the landscape pictures were presented as a rare target. The pendant pictures were chosen from the largest online store in China and divided into beautiful and less beautiful conditions by the sales ranking. A positive component, P2, was recorded for each condition on the participants’ frontal, central and parietal scalp areas. Less beautiful pendants elicited greater amplitudes of P2 than the beautiful ones. This indicates that emotion arousal seems to occur at the early stage of processing of aesthetics and can be detected by the P2 component, implying that the event-related potential methodology may be a more sensitive measure of the beauty-related attention bias. From the perspective of artwork design and marketing, our finding also shows that P2 can potentially be used as a reference measure in consumer aesthetic experience.

aSchool of Management, bNeuromanagement Laboratory

cCollege of Public Administration, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence to Qingguo Ma, MS, Neuromanagement Laboratory, School of Management, Zhejiang University, 38# Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310058, People’s Republic of China Tel: +86 57187952790; fax: +86 57187952790; e-mail:

Received June 19, 2012

Accepted July 22, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.