Neuroanatomical correlates of aesthetic preference for paintings

Oshin Vartanian, Vinod Goel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study was conducted to determine the neuroanatomical correlates of aesthetic preference for paintings using fMRI. Subjects were shown representational and abstract paintings in different formats (original, altered, filtered), and instructed to rate them on aesthetic preference. Our primary results demonstrated that activation in right caudate nucleus decreased in response to decreasing preference, and that activation in bilateral occipital gyri, left cingulate sulcus, and bilateral fusiform gyri increased in response to increasing preference. We conclude that the differential patterns of activation observed in the aforementioned structures in response to aesthetic preference are specific examples of their roles in evaluating reward-based stimuli that vary in emotional valence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-897
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 9 2004


  • Aesthetics
  • Art
  • Caudate nucleus
  • Cingulate
  • MRI
  • Preference
  • Reward
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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