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Project Team


Professor Simone Schnall is Director of the Project. She is a Professor in Experimental Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and Director of the Cambridge Body, Mind and Behaviour Laboratory. Her work to date has largely focused on the cognitive effects of the emotions, and on moral psychology. 








Dr Ryan P. Doran is Co-Director of the Project. He is a María Zambrano Fellow for the Attraction of International Talent at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona, and a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. His work to date has largely focused on the relationship between beauty and moral cognition. 








Ekim Luo is a postgraduate research assistant. They are a PhD student studying the analgesic effect of social power on empathy for pain at the Body, Mind and Behaviour Lab. Currently, they are also assisting on the “Higher Values: Aesthetic Experiences, Transcendence, and Prosociality” project. As a part of this project, they are sampling visitors to the Fitzwilliam Museum on their aesthetic experiences. As a human, they tend to be over-caffeinated, and they are very good at making different types of toast. 







Veronica Forslund is an undergraduate research assistant. She is an undergraduate at Cambridge University, studying Psychological and Behavioural sciences. Her main interests are the study of emotion as well as how the complexities in its operationalisation affect the research of various psychological phenomena. She also has an interest in social psychology generally and its translation to neuroscientific measures. 







Dr Jasmina Stevanov is a Research Associate on the project. She was trained as an experimental psychologist and artists and her research focuses on incorporating these two disciplines through the psychophysics of illusions and neuroscience of aesthetics; sitting at the cross-section of vision research and studies of art (re)perception. Her recent interest is in use of machine learning and eye-tracking techniques to explore individual preferences for visual art with the goal to offer automatic feedback about observers’ aesthetic preferences and predict their future choices. 







Katherine Symons is an interdisciplinary postgraduate research assistant for the project with Prof. Simone Schnall and Dr Ryan Doran, as part of the Cambridge Body, Mind and Behaviour Laboratory. Katherine’s journey first began as an artist when she studied Fine Art in South Africa, before moving into experimental aesthetics and cognitive science in the United Kingdom. Katherine recently graduated with a Master of Science degree in Psychology of the Arts, Neuroaesthetics, and Creativity at Goldsmiths College, University of London. During this course, Katherine was deeply involved in aesthetic science, neuroaesthetics, creative cognition, and creative computing - which inspired her postgraduate research project involving computational generative art. 





Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė is a Research Associate at the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. Her doctoral work focused on the philosophy of music and the ontology of musical works. As part of her doctoral research, she conducted experimental philosophy studies in musical ontology. In addition to her doctoral research, she investigated other topics in experimental philosophy of aesthetics, such as the folk concept of art, judgments of the identity of artworks, and intuitions on AI-created art. She currently works on the project “Higher Values: Aesthetic Experiences, Transcendence, and Prosociality” with Prof. Simone Schnall and Dr Ryan Doran.