Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Raphael Rosenberg
Head of the Laboratory: Mag. Dr. Luise Reitstätter

Staff: Christina Bartosch, MA, Jane Boddy, MA, Dr. Hanna Brinkmann, Mag. Beatrice Immelmann, Nirmalie Alexandra Mulloli, BA (Hons) M.St., Dr. Klaus Speidel

The Laboratory for Cognitive Research in Art History at the Department for Art History works at the intersection of quantitative and qualitative research. Alongside database projects we mainly use cognitive methods ranging from questionnaires to physiological measurements (especially eye-tracking) to determine how the qualities of the work (form and content), of the observer (individually and culturally), and of the context affect the beholding of aesthetic objects.

Published and ongoing eye-tracking studies …

… verify / falsify theories of art history:
- about single art works (Aufreiter 2014, Rosenberg 2014)
- about common aspects of artworks and styles (abstraction: Brinkmann et al. 2014, complexity: Laura Commare PhD-project, narration: Klaus Speidel, PostDoc-project)

… detect differences among viewers:
- age (Pia Brüner, MA-project)
- gender (Mario Thalwitzer, PhD-project)
- culture (Hanna Brinkmann, PhD-project)
- expertise (Rosenberg 2011)

… analyse the influence of circumstances:
- speaking / non speaking (Klein et al. 2014)
- museum / lab (Brieber et al. 2014/ Thalwitzer et al. 2015)
- audio-guide (Claudia Pitnik, MA-project)


  • Untersuchungen von Blickbewegung und EEG bei der Betrachtung von Gemälden
    Project Management:
    Univ.-Prof. Dr. Raphael Rosenberg & PD Dr. Christoph Klein
    Duration:  2006 - 2008
    Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, Ro 2281/3)


Art & Science. Conference on Empirical Methods in Art History and Visual Studies, mehr...

Current Information

  • In January 2018 the study "Belvedere Before" was conducted by the Lab for Cognitive Research in Art History (CReA) in cooperation with the University of Tübingen, the EVAlab and the Austrian Gallery Belvedere. The aim of the interdisciplinary team, consisting of art historians, sociologists, psychologists and computer scientists, was on the one hand to explore the current possibilities of mobile eye tracking for museum research. On the other hand the team took the chance of a major rearrangement of the permanent collection to find out how visitors perceive the prior constellation of artworks through the methods of mobile eye tracking, subjective mapping and questionnaire. In January 2019 the study “Belvedere After” will follow in order to compare the two different museum presentation contexts.
    -> Download Video

  • Internships:
    The Laboratory for Cognitive Research in Art History offers continuously internships for students from all departments. Students from the master's programme in History of Art have the possibility to accredit the intership as module 6. Part-time work is possible upon prior agreement.

    If your are interested please contact Mag. Dr. Luise Reitstätter (




Cognitive Science Research Platform

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ansorge, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Helmut Leder, Dr. Marcos Nadal-Roberts (Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, University of Vienna)

Prof. Dr. Christoph Klein (School of Psychology, University of Wales / University Hospital for paediatric psychiatry, University of Freiburg)


Official film: Cognitive Science at University of Vienna


R. Rosenberg, Bridging Art History, Computer Science and Cognitive Science: A Call for Interdisciplinary Collaboration, in: Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 3/2016, 305-314 -> pdf

R. Rosenberg, Verzögertes Formerkennen als ästhetische Erfahrung, in: F. Engel u. Y. Hadjinicolaou (Hgg.), Formwerdung und Formentzug, Actus et Imago, Bd. XVI, Berlin 2016, 103-121,

Thomas Kübler, Wolfgang Fuhl, Raphael Rosenberg, Wolfgang Rosenstiel & Enkelejda Kasneci, Novel methods for analysis and visualization of saccade trajectories, in: Gang Hua & Hervé Jégou (eds.), Computer Vision – ECCV 2016 Workshops, o.O. (Springer) 2016, 783-797

L. Commare & H. Brinkmann: Aesthetic Echoes in the Beholder’s Eye?
Empirical evidence for the divergence of theory and practice in the perception of abstract art. In: M. Zimmermann (Hg.): Vision in Motion.
Streams of Sensation and Configurations of Time, diaphanes Berlin 2016, S 221-234.

M. Thalwitzer, H. Brinkmann, R. Rosenberg, Using a concealed, calibration free eye–tracker for studying art perception in the museum, in: U. Ansorge et al. (ed.), Abstracts of the 18th European Conference on Eye Movements, 2015, Vienna, Journal of Eye Movement Research, 8/4, 140 (

R. Rosenberg & C. Klein, The Moving Eye of the Beholder. Eye-Tracking and the Perception of Paintings, in: J. P. Huston, M. Nadal, F. Mora, L. Agnati & C. J. Cela-Conde (Eds), Art, Aesthetics and the Brain, Oxford 2015, 79-108,

H. Brinkmann, L. Commare, Blick_folgen: Zur Visualisierung von Augenbewegungen bei der Kunstbetrachtung. Beitrag im digitalen Tagungsband der Konferenz "Die Kunst der Rezeption. The Art of Reception", hrsg. von Jacobus Bracker und Ann-Kathrin Hubrich, in: Visual Past 2.1, 2015, 389-405.

C. Klein, J. Betz, M. Hirschbuehl, C. Fuchs, B. Schmiedtová, M. Engelbrecht, J. S. Mueller-Paul, &  R. Rosenberg, Describing Art – An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Effects of Speaking on Gaze Movements during the Beholding of Paintings, PLoS ONE 9(12), 2014, e102439, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102439

R. Rosenberg & H. Leder, Blickbewegungsforschung, in: Stephan Günzel und Dieter Mersch (Hg.), Bild. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch, Stuttgart/Weimar (J.B. Metzler) 2014, 433-438

J. Aufreiter, Farbe, Form und Stimmung. Eine Studie zu ausgewählten Landschaftsbildern Josef Dobrowskys, in: Josef Dobrowsky – Wahrnehmung und Farbe, hg. v. Agnes Husslein-Arco und Axel Köhne, Ausst.-Kat. (Belvedere) Wien 2014, S. 33-47

D. Brieber, M. Nadal, H. Leder, H., & R. Rosenberg, Art in Time and Space: Context Modulates the Relation between Art Experience and Viewing Time, in: PLoS ONE 9(6), 2014, e99019, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099019

H. Brinkman, L. Commare, H. Leder, & R. Rosenberg, Abstract Art as a Universal Language? In: Leonardo 47/3, 2014, pp. 256-257

R. Rosenberg, Blicke Messen. Vorschläge für eine empirische Bildwissenschaft, in: Jahrbuch der Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Künste 27, 2013, Göttingen 2014, S. 71-86. Online in ART-Dok

P. Cavanagh, B. R. Conway, D. Freedberg, É. Jollet, R. Rosenberg, Sciences cognitives et histoire de l'art, une coopération en devenir?, in: Perspective. La Revue de l'INHA 2013, 101-118

C.-Y. Pang, M. Nadal, J. Müller, R. Rosenberg & C. Klein, Electrophysiological Correlates of Looking at Paintings And its Association with Art Expertise, in: Biological Psychology, 93/1, 2013, 246-254

R. Rosenberg, Que fait l'oeil du spectateur? Pour une histoire de la perception des oeuvres d'art, quatre conférences au Collège de France, Videostreams (Francais/Englisch)

R. Rosenberg, Dem Auge auf der Spur. Blickbewegungen beim Betrachten von Gemälden – historisch und empirisch, in: Jahrbuch der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften für 2010, Heidelberg 2011, S. 76-89. Online in ART-Dok

M. Engelbrecht, J. Betz, C. Klein & R. Rosenberg, Dem Auge auf der Spur: Eine historische und empirische Studie zur Blickbewegung beim Betrachten von Gemälden, in: IMAGE 11, Januar 2010

R. Rosenberg, J. Betz & Ch. Klein, Augensprünge, in: Bildwelten des Wissens. Kunsthistorisches Jahrbuch für Bildkritik, Bd. 6,1, 2008, S. 127-129. Online in ART-Dok
R. Rosenberg, Bausteine zu einer empirischen Bildwissenschaft, in: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Jahrbuch 2007/2008, S. 177-182