The world can look better: Enhancing beauty experience with brain stimulation

Zaira Cattaneo, Carlotta Lega, Albert Flexas, Marcos Nadal, Enric Munar, Camilo J. Cela-conde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aesthetic appreciation is part of our everyday life: it is a subjective judgment we make when looking at a painting, a landscape, or-in fact-at another person. Neuroimaging and electrophysiological evidence suggests that the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a critical role in aesthetic judgments. Here, we show that the experience of beauty can be artificially enhanced with brain stimulation. Specifically, we show that aesthetic appreciation of representational paintings and photographs can be increased by applying anodal (excitatory) transcranial direct current stimulation on the left DLPFC. Our results thus show that beauty is in the brain of the beholder, and offer a novel view on the neural networks underlying aesthetic appreciation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbernst165
Pages (from-to)1713-1721
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2014


  • Abstract
  • Art
  • Brain stimulation
  • Colour
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Liking
  • Neuroaesthetics
  • Representational
  • TDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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