Empirical Media Aesthetics

is a research focus on questions of aesthetics and the impact of audiovisual media.

In our research areas we investigate—on different objects and from multiple perspectives—the way in which audiovisual forms move viewers emotionally.

Expressive movement, genre-specific poetics of affect, the multimodality of audiovisual forms and the dimension of embodiment as the basis of experiencing and understanding films are central concepts in these research areas. 


Research areas:

  • Mobilization of Emotions in War Films
  • Genre and Sense of Community
  • Multimodal Metaphor
  • Dynamics of Affective Viewer Response

We developed the eMAEX system (electronically based media analysis of expressive movement images) as an empirical method of describing the expressive qualities of audiovisual media. All our projects are based on this descriptive method, which is continually adapted and developed within the projects. It makes possible a standardized analysis of audiovisual forms.

The audiovisual objects of study are analyzed qualitatively and integrated into a database that is available for further analysis in diverse empirical research fields.


  • Methods
  • eMAEX-System

A special multimedia publication system was developed on the basis of this analytic method that allows the visual and verifiable presentation of descriptive analyses of audiovisual data. These qualitative content analyses are informed by questions of film theory, history and/or genre theory.

Project members use the publication system to create multimedia studies in which research data are analyzed using structured methodology. These studies become an integral component of the joint research environment.

Multimedia publications


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