Visual Properties Driving Visual Preference

The Visual Properties Driving Visual Preference (VPDVP) is a yearly meeting conceived as an informal round-table discussion, with a selected number of national and international attendees. It started in 2015 in Liverpool. The format is such that a group of experts presents their work and debate, and the number is kept low. This way we can sit around a long table and this facilitates interaction.

What are visual properties that drive visual preference? So far we have explored the following:
Symmetry; Fractal Dimension; Natural statistics; Smooth curvature
However, we are always open to hear new ideas, including sceptical views about the possibility to isolate factors that determine preference. In addition to scientists we have had artists in attendance, and also collaborators from outside academia.

This logo should be seen with red/blue glasses. It was made by the incomparable Nick Wade (thanks!). You can see a large version by clicking here

List of past events

[6th VPDVP]

June 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 6th Visual Properties Driving Visual Preference (VPDVP) workshop was held online on Friday 12th June 2020.

Invited presentations.

Vittorio Gallese (University of Parma, Italy)
"The empathic body. Embodied simulation and experimental aesthetics"

Marcos Nadal (UIB, Spain)
"Time to Rethink Aesthetic Experience?"

Sander Van de Cruys (Leuven, Belgium)
"Curiosity and pleasure as expected and actual predictive progress"

VPDVP 2020 explored empirical aesthetics and visual preference in relation to neural mechanisms. You can download the programme here: . Videos of the talks are available on this page: Videos

The event was part of the celebrations of the 100 years of psychology at the University of Padova. Vittorio Benussi taught psychology for the first time in Padova in May 1919 and the first full course in psychology was given in the 1919-1920 academic year. We thank the Department of General Psychology for its support and the Perception Group (PercUP)

In association with the IAEA (International association for empirical aesthetics)

This Canaletto painting (1760) can serve as a map to find the Department of General Psychology in Padova. Go through the city gate (Portello), cross the bridge, and the department will be on your right, along the road to Venice.

Organising Committee: Marco Bertamini, Mario Bonato, Giulio Contemori, Alexis Makin, Stefano Mastandrea, Letizia Palumbo, Michele Vicovaro

[5th VPDVP]

June 2019.

The 5th edition of the Visual Properties Driving Visual Preference workshop took place at Liverpool Hope University on 13-14 June 2019. We had three keynote presentations.

Johan Wagemans (University of Leuven, Belgium)
"Aesthetics in the wild: What we can learn from multi-method museum studies”

Chris McManus (UCL, UK)
"People differ ...?"

Edward Vessel (Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Germany)
"Embracing an interactionist view of aesthetic preference"

We are also delighted that the IAEA (International association for empirical aesthetics) continue to support the meeting.

You can download the programme of VPDVP5 from here:

[4th VPDVP]

11th June 2018. We are delighted that the IAEA (International association for empirical aesthetics) is supporting this year's meeting. The theme is neuroaesthetics and the keynote speakers are:

Professor Anjan Chatterjee
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) and Department of Neurology
University of Pennsylvania
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Beauty"

Professor Oshin Vartanian
Department of Psychology
University of Toronto
"Neuroscience of architecture: Top-down and bottom-up approaches"

You can download the programme of VPDVP4 from here:

Here is a photo of the pre-workshop game, Neuroaesthetics v. Rest of the World:

[3rd VPDVP]

8th June 2017. In 2017 the VPDVP workshop was combined with a on-day workshop on the Neuroscience of Visual Symmetry. You can download the programme of VPDVP3 from here:

The workshop on Neuroscience of Visual Symmetry was sponsored by the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS). There is a page entirely on that.. Please visit the page about the workshop and you will find a list of people who attended, and a link to the Special Issue. If you want more information contact us by email.

[2nd VPDVP]

21st March 2016. University of Liverpool
You can download the programme of VPDVP2 from here:

[1st VPDVP]

14th January 2015. University of Liverpool
You can download the programme of VPDVP1 from here:

How to find us


View Marco Bertamini Visual Perception Lab in a larger map