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Greeting note from IAEA´s Honorary Lifetime President Holger Höge

To all participants of the IAEA Conference in Vienna. A greeting note from IAEA´s Honorary Lifetime President Holger Höge, who can not join this years conference.



Dear All,

it is now the third time that I am not able to follow an IAEA congress. I do regret this the most as I have always been involved in all the IAEA activities and found pleasure as well as scientific input at our congresses. I felt highly honored when you made me the Honorary Lifetime President some years ago and would have been very happy to see all of you again. But things are as they are.

Sure, it was very nice to see from the distance that IAEA made progress both with respect to its administrational format (i.e. as a Registered Association) and that IAEA was able to get new persons interested in the field we are so fond of. But to be realistic: I don’t see that empirical aesthetics will be the mainstream field of psychology in the very next future. However, I am sure that its influence on psychology will grow. I think that a major goal will have been reached if a future edition of Zimbardo’ psychology textbook will list the aesthetic domain as a field of ongoing research – then we can be happy to have established this prominent field of human experience as a center psychology. So far to the future of the field.

If you allow me to make a remark on research activities then I would like to suggest a kind of strategy that did not happen in the past – at least to the best of my knowledge. What I feel to be missing is a combined research with a bundle of related areas.

To give it a name and make things easier for handling: what I mean is Big Data Research. As we do not really know how and why aesthetic preferences change over life-time and as we do not know what kind of aesthetic experiences can be grouped together – is there only one kind of aesthetic pleasure? or is musical pleasure different from that one that emerges from looking at paintings or theatre? – it seems to me that a more systematic combination of research could be helpful to bring light into these areas. Brain research may be best to clear specific types of aesthetic delight in specifying brain areas involved in subjectively declared highlights of aesthetic pleasures, but longitudinal studies – done by verbal reports – may indicate changes as well as stabilities in aesthetic pleasure. Sure, that takes lots of money and man-power as things must be done over a long distance of time.

Sure these are only dreams and wishes. If I had money – be sure I would be active in sponsoring. But I don’t have the financial capacity, I am not Bill Gates.

So, all I can do is to send my very best wishes for a fruitful and inspiring congress, thanking all the organizers involved and to Helmut, especially.

Yours cordially,

Holger Höge


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