Dr. Gernot Gerger

Dr. Gernot Gerger Dr. Gernot Gerger, Post Doctoral Researcher





Courses taught at WVPU

Undergraduate Courses

Background and Facts

Dr. Gernot Gerger conducted his master studies (finished 04.2006) in Psychology, at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria. He also finished the pre-clinical part of Medicine (University of Vienna) reflecting his research interests and specializations in Biological Psychology. In his master thesis, he researched memory phenomena with the help of EEG (electroencephalography). Following this, Gernot completed his doctoral studies (10.2006-05.2011) and first post-doctoral position (09.2011 – 08.2017) at the Empirical Visual Aesthetics Lab (Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria) in the field of Empirical Aesthetics.

In this second main research field, Gernot was mainly interested in how the complex interplay of emotions and cognitions contributes to (aesthetic) judgments. In order to more fully understand this interplay, he combined various methods by including psychophysiological measures (e.g, facial electromyography;  eye-tracking, skin conductance responses) in concert with explicit judgments and behavioral measures in the laboratory as well as field studies. In May 2018 he started his second post-doctoral position at Webster Vienna as a researcher for an FWF funded project (I3645) awarded to Dr. Marc Mehu. The projects try to uncover implicit prejudice and discrimination in inter-group relations in both field and laboratory studies.

Country of Origin: Austria

Research interests

Main research interests:

  • Current: Non-verbal indicators of behavior (E.g. Facial Action Coding System, FACS) with a special focus on prejudice and discrimination.
  • How do emotions and cognitions contribute to judgments, particularly aesthetic judgments?
  • Facial attractiveness: What factors make faces attractive? How do hormonal factors influence attractiveness?
  • Multi-method approaches with an emphasis on psycho-physiological methods: EEG; facial electromyography (EMG), Skin conductance responses, Eye-tracking, transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS)


Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • Carbon, C.C., Faerber, S. J., Gerger, G., Forster, M., & Leder, H. (2013). Innovation is appreciated when we feel safe: On the situational dependence of the appreciation of innovation. International Journal of Design, 7(2), 43-51.
  • Faerber, S. J., Leder, H., Gerger, G., & Carbon, C. C. (2010). Priming semantic concepts affects the dynamics of aesthetic appreciation. Acta Psychologica, 135(2), 191-200
  • Forster, M., Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2015). Everything’s Relative? Relative Differences in Processing Fluency and the Effects on Liking. PLoS ONE, 10(8), e0135944
  • Gerger, G., Forster, M., & Leder, H. (2017). It felt fluent but I did not like it: fluency effects in faces versus patterns. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-12
  • Gerger, G., Ishizu, T., & Pelowski, M. (2017). Empathy as a guide for understanding the balancing of Distancing-Embracing with negative art. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40, E361
  • Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2015). Titles change the aesthetic appreciations of paintings. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 464
  • Gerger, G., Leder, H., & Kremer, A. (2014). Context effects on emotional and aesthetic evaluations of artworks and IAPS pictures. Acta Psychologica, 151, 174-183
  • Gerger, G., Leder, H., Faerber, S., & Carbon, C. C. (2011). When the others matter: Context-dependent effects on changes in appreciation of innovativeness. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 70(2), 75-83
  • Gerger, G., Leder, H., Tinio, P. P. L., & Schacht, A. (2011). Faces versus Patterns: Exploring aesthetic reactions using facial EMG. Psychology of Aesthetics Creativity and the Arts, 5(3), 241-250. 
  • Gerger, G., Pelowski, M., & Leder, H. (2017). Empathy, Einfühlung, and aesthetic experience: the effect of emotion contagion on the appreciation of representational and abstract art using fEMG and SCR. Cognitive Processing, 1-19
  • Gerger, G., Pelowski, M., & Ishizu, T. (2018). Does priming negative emotions really contribute to more positive aesthetic judgments? A comparative study of emotion priming paradigms using emotional faces versus emotional scenes and multiple negative emotions with fEMG. Emotion. Advance online publication
  • Hur, Y.-J., Gerger, G., Leder, H., & McManus, I. C. (2018). Facing the Sublime: Physiological Correlates of the Relationship Between Fear and the Sublime. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Retrieved from here.
  • Leder, H., Gerger, G., Brieber, D., & Schwarz, N. (2014). What makes an art expert? Emotion and evaluation in art appreciation. Cognition & Emotion, 1-11
  • Leder, H., Gerger, G., Dressler, S. G., & Schabmann, A. (2012). How art is appreciated. Psychology of Aesthetics Creativity and the Arts, 6(1), 2-10. 
  • Leder, H., Forster, M., & Gerger, G. (2011). The glasses stereotype revisited: Effects of eyeglasses on perception, recognition, and impression of faces. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 70(4), 211-222
  • Pelowski, M., Gerger, G., Chetouani, Y.,  Markey, P. & Leder, H. (2017). But is it really Art? The Classification of Images as “Art”/Not Art and Correlation with Appraisal and Viewer Interpersonal Differences. Frontiers in Psychology
  • Pelowski, M., Markey, P. S., Forster, M., Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2017a). Move me, astonish me… delight my eyes and brain: The Vienna Integrated Model of top-down and bottom-up processes in Art Perception (VIMAP) and corresponding affective, evaluative, and neurophysiological correlates. Physics of Life Reviews, 21, 80-1225
  • Pelowski, M., Markey, P. S., Forster, M., Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2017b). What do we actually hope to accomplish by modeling art experience?: Reply to comments on “Move me, astonish me... delight my eyes and brain: The Vienna Integrated Model of top-down and bottom-up processes in Art Perception (VIMAP) and corresponding affective, evaluative, and neurophysiological correlates”. Physics of Life Reviews, 21, 159-170.
  • Pelowski, M., Leder, H., Mitschke, V., Specker, E., Gerger, G., Tinio, P. P. L., Husslein-Arco, A. (2018). Capturing aesthetic experiences with installation art: An empirical assessment of emotion, evaluations, and mobile eye tracking in Olafur Eliasson’s "Baroque, Baroque!". Frontiers in Psychology, 9(AUG). Retrieved from here.
  • Pelowski, M., Specker, E., Gerger, G., Leder, H., & Weingarden, L. S. (2018). Do you feel like I do? A study of spontaneous and deliberate emotion sharing and understanding between artists and perceivers of installation art. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication.
  • Schabmann, A. Gerger; G., Schmidt, B., Wögerer, E., Osipov, I., & Leder, H. (2015). Where does it come from? Developmental aspects of art appreciation. International Journal of Behavioral Development. 40 (4), 313-323.
  • Tinio, P. P. L., Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2013). Birds of a feather Generalization of facial structures following massive familiarization. Acta Psychologica, 144(3), 463-471

Book chapters

  • Leder, H., Gerger, G., & Brieber, D. (2015). Aesthetic appreciation: Convergence from experimental aesthetics and physiology. In J.P. Huston; M. Nadal; F. Mora; L.F. Agnati,  & C.J. Cela-Conde (Eds.), Art, Aesthetics and the Brain. (pp. 57-78). Oxford University Press.
  • Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2014). Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all? Influencing factors and effects of attractiveness. In P. L. Tinio & J. K. Smith (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Psychology of Aesthetics and the Arts. (pp. 421-446). Cambridge University Press.

Conference Proceedings and Published Abstracts

  • Fatemi, S., Anderer, P., Nikzad, R., Gerger, G., Newesely, V., Tschida, U., & Saletu, B. (2006). Comparative polysomnographic and psychometric studies on the acute effects of gabapentin and ropinirol in the treatment of restless legs syndrome. Journal of Sleep Research, 15, 91-91 – Oral presentation.
  • Forster M, Gerger G., Leder H (2013) Fluency needs uncertainty. Perception 42 ECVP Abstract Supplement, p. 134. doi:10.1068/v130390 – Oral Presentation.
  • Gerger, G. (2017). Cycle-dependent shifts in male attractiveness (?). International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), Vienna, Austria – Oral Presentation.
  • Gerger, G. (2016). Does the preference for males change cyclically? Biannual Congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA), Vienna, Austria – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G. (2016). Cycle-dependent shifts for male attractiveness. Tagung experimental arbeitender Psychologen, - TEAP, 2106, Heidelberg, Germany – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G., & Pelowski, M. (2017). Affective priming affects aesthetic judgments according to the primes’ valence. American Psychological Association (APA) Convention, Washington, USA – Oral Presentation.
  • Gerger, G., Bauer, H., Fischmeister, F. P. S., & Leodolter, U. (2006). Subsequent memory effects observed during shallow encoding of word pairs. FENS Forum Abstracts, 2006, 3 - Poster.
  • Gerger, G., & Carbon, C. C. (2007). Langeweile als modulierender Faktor bei dynamischen Veränderungen von Gefallensurteilen [Boredom as modulating factor of changes in attractiveness]. Tagung experimental arbeitender Psychologen (TEAP) – Trier 2007, Germany – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G., Forster, M., & Leder, H. (2014). “It felt fluent, but I did not like it: Fluency effects in the case of faces.” Poster presented at the 9th PPRU Workshop, Jena, Germany.
  • Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2015). Empathy and the aesthetic experience: How “Einfühlung - feeling into” changes aesthetic experiences of representational and abstract art. Biannual congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, New York, USA – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G., & Leder H. (2013). Cognitive fluency: Title influence aesthetic evaluations. 55. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen – TEAP 2013, Vienna – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger G., Welleditsch, D., & Leder H. (2012). Art versus Reality - Contextual framing affects emotional and aesthetic evaluations of artworks and IAPS pictures. Perception 41 ECVP 2012 Abstract Supplement, p. 61. doi:10.1068/v120461. – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger G. & Leder H. (2012). Exploring aesthetics using facial EMG. Tagung experimental arbeitender Psychologen (TEAP) – Mannheim 2012 – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G., Leder, H., & Carbon, C. C. (2007). Contributions of boredom to likingjudgments over time - Perception, 36, 17-17. ECVP 2007 Abstract Supplement. doi:10.1068/v070087 - Poster.
  • Leder, H., Gerger, G., Welleditsch, D. (2012). „This is disgusting!” Biannual Congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, Taipeh, China – Oral presentation.
  • Leder, H.; Gerger,G,; Dressler, S.; Schabmann, A. (2010). The role of emotion in art appreciation. XXI Congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) – Dresden – Oral presentation.Vale, L., Gerger, G., Leder, H., & Pelli, D. (2015). Correlating Beauty and Two Measures of Pleasure. Journal of vision, 15(12), 246-246
  • Tinio, P. P. L., Gerger, G., & Leder, H. (2010). Symmetry, complexity, familiarization, and the aesthetic judgment of faces. Tagung experimental arbeitender Psychologen (TEAP) – Saarbrücken 2010 – Oral presentation.

Invited Talks, Invited Articles, and Media

  • Gerger, G. (2018).  Tv-Interview for the Austrian Broadcasting Association (ORF): Newton: Wie attraktiv macht künstliche Schönheit wirklich? 03.11.2018
  • Gerger, G. (2017). Facing art – Empathy for art as measured by facial EMG. Scientific Colloquium - Summer Term 2017, University of Vienna, Austria. – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G. (2017). Oh wie grauenhaft, oh wie ist das schön! Das Zusammenspielen von Denken und Fühlen beim Erleben von Kunst – eine psychologische Perspektive. Jahr  der Gegenwartskunst, Volksliedwerk Burgenland. – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G. (2016). Measuring emotions in the arts – Facial EMG. Facial EMG Course. WWTF-Summerschool: Cognition, Art, and Culture: From Perception to Innovation (Helmut Leder), Vienna, Austria. – Oral presentation.
  • Gerger, G. (2016). Attraktivität und Make-Up – eine wahrnehmungspsychologische Perspektive. Vortrag für Kosmetik Transparent - Oral Presentation.
  • Gerger, G. (2016). Interview mit Zeitschrift Wienerin zum Thema: So sehr lassen wir uns von Schönheit blenden - Wienerin, August, 2016.
  • Gerger, G. (2015). Ästhetische Erfahrungen: Sind ästhetische Erfahrungen messbar? Eine kognitionspsychologische Perspektive. Interdisiziplinäre Tagung "Ästhetische Erfahrung im didaktischen Kontext" (Marion Bönnighausen). Universität Münster, Germany. – Oral Presentation.
  • Forster, M., Gerger, G. & Leder, H. (2013). The Glasses Stereotype, Revisited. The Jury Expert, 25, 2. 1-9.