EPÆG mission


EPÆG bridges the gulf between basic sciences and applied sciences to assist to generating creative and practicable solutions in innovative product development addressing issues of ergonomics, aesthetics, and design.

EPÆG brings together a team of scientists interested in Ergonomics, Psychological Æsthetics and Gestaltung. Our research goes from psychophysics to high level cognitive mechanisms, while developing and empirically testing psychological theories of Æsthetic perception and cognition. We develop guidelines and principles for applied solutions in design and ergonomics.

What does EPÆG stand for?


Ergonomie (Ergonomics)

Ergonomie (ergonomics) aims to enhance the interaction of humans and machines. Here, our group investigates the needs and interests of users as well as the improvement of the used machines.

Psychologische Æsthetik (Psychological Aesthetics)

In the field of Psychologische Æsthetik (psychological aesthetics) we link concepts of humanities such as beauty and Erhabenheit (the sublime) with psychological concepts such as attention, classification, preference and memory. Our aim is to contribute to a interdisciplinary understanding of Æsthetics, to fundamental Æsthetic theories in empirical and psychological research. We also believe that research in Æsthetics contributes to the advancement of psychological theories in general as it is an ideal scientific domain to systematically investigate the interaction of cognitive and affective sciences.

Gestalt (Design)

In the field of Gestaltung (design), we firstly follow the tradition of Gestalt psychology to further explore and develop higher principles of Gestalt perception, which enables us to give advice for Gestalt guidelines and thus, support the creative processes of product development and marketing strategies. Secondly, we develop test paradigms to predict future Æsthetic appreciations, cycles of perceived innovativeness and typicality to enhance the validity of product evaluations. This helps to optimize the designing of consumer products, especially if they are of high innovative nature.

EPÆG Methods


EPÆG follows a multimethodical and multimodal research strategy. Multimethodical in terms of behavioural, neurophysiological and neuropsychological research procedures. Multimodal, as EPÆG wants to go beyond single modalities by investigating cross-modal and multimodal aspects of, for instance, aesthetics in car interiors (visual properties, haptics) or adaptation effects (visual and acoustical). EPÆG research with focus on vision modality in the field of „dynamics of aesthetic appreciation“, and with focus on haptics and cross-modalities in industry-based projects.EPÆG follows a multimethodical and multimodal research strategy. Multimethodical in terms of behavioural, neurophysiological and neuropsychological research procedures. Multimodal, as EPÆG wants to go beyond single modalities by investigating cross-modal and multimodal aspects of, for instance, aesthetics in car interiors (visual properties, haptics) or adaptation effects (visual and acoustical). EPÆG research with focus on vision modality in the field of „dynamics of aesthetic appreciation“, and with focus on haptics and cross-modalities in industry-based projects.

EPÆG brings together a team of scientists interested in Ergonomics, Psychological Æsthetics and Gestaltung. Our research goes from psychophysics to high level cognitive mechanisms, while developing and empirically testing psychological theories of Æsthetic perception and cognition. We develop guidelines and principles for applied solutions in design and ergonomics.

Statistical methods
  • Descriptive statistics (numeral and graphical inspection and analysis)
  • Inferential statistics (e.g., experimental designs, correlational analysis, group comparisons, analysis of variance, multivariate methods)
  • Practical statistics (e.g., regression analysis, bi-dimensional regression, causal path analysis)
  • Statistical classification (e.g., cluster analysis, muliti-dimensional scaling, discrimination analysis)
  • Further complex statistical methods (e.g., structural equation models, multi-group analysis)
  • Empirical test construction (e.g., factor analysis)
  • To explore multifaceted phenomena (like the emergence and dissemination of conspiracy theories), we also collect data in the field. The gathering of qualitative data — e.g., with a chinese whisper design of repeated playing and re-production — is an integral part of our research. These studies are usually accompanied by quantitative pen-and-paper approaches; and are, in most cases but a first step towards a controlled examination of single aspects in the lab.
Cognitive modeling
In addition to statistical approaches, we apply the full range of machine learning algorithms to find regularities in the data of multi-factorial, exploratory studies. By using classification algorithms (like decision trees and ID3), artificial neural networks (ANN) and other means, we get a grip on phenomena with lots of independent variables – where, with regression analysis or an ANOVA, hundreds of test subjects would be needed. This helps us identify the most important determinants, that then will enter a classical design.
Specific experimental designs
  • Adaptation paradigm
  • Repeated Evaluation Technique (RET)
  • SDT implementation
  • Measure of emotional reaction via startle reflex
  • IAT/mdIAT (multi-dimensional Implicit Association Test)
Physiological measurements
  • Eyetracking (scan paths, pupillometry, and attentional landscapes)
  • EDA/SCR/GSR (electrodermal activity/skin conductance response/galvanic skin response)
  • EEG/MEG (electroencephalogram, magnetoencephalogram)
  • EMG (electromyogram)
  • fMRI (functional magnet resonance imaging)