Goosepimples and the Scientific Method

AesthetikWhenever we are moved by the beauty of a poem, a melody, a movie or a painting our heartbeat accelerates, the palm of our hands becomes moist, our breathing becomes irregular and we get goosepimples.

By “we” I mean those of us who are capable of being so moved. In Frankfurt this fall, the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics will begin operations. It will be the home of beautifully designed concert and recital halls and screening rooms, and be equipped with high-tech lasers, cameras and state-of-the-art measuring devices of all kinds. Here, soft aesthetics will meet hard natural sciences.

No doubt among the many beneficiaries of this historic encounter will be the cabaret artists unable to refrain from poking fun at it.

Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 16

P.S. In his own research of musical goosepimple-moments, Charles Small uses the word Horripilogenic, one of the medical terms for goosebumps. (The other is cutis anserina, literally goose skin.)


3 responses to “Goosepimples and the Scientific Method

  1. “Goose”, as a reverent, is interesting. Some of us get goose pimples when we see the goose step.

    • Reverent vs referent is interesting too! I remember a footnote in a monograph I was trying to understand as a grad student, suggesting that for further details the reader should “consult the reverences”. In context it was exactly the right advice.

  2. Thanks. I hadn’t noticed the typo. I also should have referred (not reverred) to “goose” as a verb.