EPÆG is a world-wide network of enthusiastic scientists try to advance the empirical knowledge of the psychological fields of ergonomics, aesthetics and design. EPÆG is hosted at the Department of General Psychology and Methodology (head: Professor Claus-Christian Carbon, PhD; deputy head: Sandra Utz, PhD) at the University of Bamberg, Germany.

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Research methods

Our research goes from psychophysics to high level cognitive mechanisms, while developing and empirically testing psychological theories of Æsthetic perception and cognition.

Methods » Projects »


EPÆG brings together a team of scientists interested in Ergonomics, Psychological Æsthetics and Gestaltung.

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Articles in referred journals on topics of Ergonomics, Psychological Æsthetics and Gestaltung.

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Electric Vehicles (EVs) are propagated as an essential solution for reducing the carbon footprint of traffic activities. One essential barrier to the adoption of electromobility strategies in everyday life is the very limited driving range of typical EVs. A dense and reliable network of electric charging stations would enable safer and longer ranges. Modern fast charging technologies provide additional possibilities to tactically and quickly re-charge EVs, but high implementation costs make it necessary to establish a mixed infrastructure consisting of cheap-but-slow and expensive-but-fast charging stations. We utilized the so-called Safe-Range-Inventory (SRI), a multidimensional assessment tool for capturing multi-facets of subjective range safety assessments. Using scenarios with different infrastructure settings, we revealed that the addition of just one fast-charging option drastically lowers range anxiety even under relatively short emergency range conditions. Additional fast-charging options did not have strong positive effects on the assessments but would amass very high costs. The SRI can assist in the planning of electric charging infrastructures in order to find the right balance between range safety and installation and maintenance costs.



Research in aesthetics typically focuses on static stimuli or stimulus properties from the visual domain leaving unanswered a great many questions on haptic aesthetics. We have developed a functional model based on empirical findings and theoretical considerations of haptic aesthetics. This model assumes a continuous increase of elaborative processing through three subsequent processing stages beginning with low-level perceptual analyses that encompass an initial, unspecific exploration of the haptic material. After a subsequent, more elaborate, and specific perceptual assessment of global haptic aspects, the described process enters into deeper cognitive and emotional evaluations involving individual knowledge on the now specified haptic material. The model gives great opportunity to systematically analyze the qualia of aesthetic experiences.

Further information

ESF-Project “Fit for innovation: Developing creativity and innovativeness in SMEs”


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—from start-ups to traditional family-run enterprises—need ideas to secure their future. Apart from the ability and the motivation to bring up new ideas (creativity) these have to be successfully implemented (innovativeness). In an ESF-funded project psychologists from the Department of General Psychology and Methodology at the University of Bamberg are currently developing a web-based training program to enhance these competencies in SMEs.

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It may be fun to perceive illusions, but the understanding of how they work is even more stimulating and sustainable: They can tell us where the limits and capacity of our perceptual apparatus are found—they can specify how the constraints of perception are set. Furthermore, they let us analyze the cognitive sub-processes underlying our perception. Illusions in a scientific context are not mainly created to reveal the failures of our perception or the dysfunctions of our apparatus, but instead point to the specific power of human perception. The main task of human perception is to amplify and strengthen sensory inputs to be able to perceive, orientate and act very quickly, specifically and efficiently.

Our research on perceptual illusions strengthens this line of argument; it makes clear that such illusions and their scientific testing can help us to understand the magic and richness of perception.

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Appreciation of innovative goods requires the fulfilment of several pre-conditions, e.g., before we can admire an innovative design we must have cognitively elaborated it. We have developed a variety of techniques to stimulate such elaboration and to be able to validly measure the acceptance of innovation. Moreover, our techniques enable the prediction of future acceptance which is highly important for all companies and producers aim to deliver most advanced yet acceptable products.

Further readings:

  • Carbon, C. C. (2015). Predicting Preferences for Innovative Design: The “Repeated Evaluation Technique” (RET). GfK Marketing Intelligence Review, 7(2), 34-39. DirectLink GfK
  • Planinc, R., Kampel, M., Ortlieb, S., & Carbon, C. C. (2013). User-centered design and evaluation of an ambient event detector based on a balanced scorecard approach. Journal on Advances in Life Sciences, 5(3&4), 237-249. {IF=to be calculated} PDF
  • Carbon, C. C., Faerber, S. J., Gerger, G., Forster, M., & Leder, H. (2013). Innovation is appreciated when we feel safe: On the situational dependence of the appreciation of innovation. International Journal of Design, 7(2), 43-51. {IF=0.632} PDF

Museum research

Aesthetics research aiming at understanding art experience is an emerging field; however, most research is conducted in labs without access to real artworks, without the social context of a museum and without the presence of other persons. The present research field tries to identify key findings of art perception in museum contexts, mainly how art museum visitors inspect, elaborate and discuss artworks in the field.

Carbon, C. C. (2017). Art perception in the museum: How we spend time and space in art exhibitions. i-Perception, 8(1), 1.15. {IF=1.813} DirectLink i-Perception

Perceived Quality

Perceived quality is truly a psychological dimension with an enormous importance in assessing the quality of products. Whereas typical quality approaches focus on physical measures, perceived quality is the subjective way of assessing it. As humans finally will decide on which goods and products will be purchased, this psychological view is essential for market success. We have developed a series of techniques and methods to address this issue adequately and holistically. The multisensory perceived quality approach which we follow provides decisive answers to the essential questions: How can we systematically increase perceived quality for first glance as well as elaborated inspections of products?

Mona Lisa entering the 3rd dimension. Can Mona Lisa be a stereoscopic painting?

In January 2012 the Museo del Prado in Madrid announced an astounding discovery: An almost fully restored copy of the Mona Lisa was rediscovered behind the black overpainting of another copy of the Mona Lisa painting, which hitherto was considered as a rather minor version. The similarity between da Vinci’s original and the Prado version is remarkable. Moreover, infrared analyses unveiled similar corrections in both artworks. It is therefore assumed that a pupil of Leonardo produced the Prado version very possibly alongside the master...

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Mona Lisa

The Height-Weight Illusion.

The Height-Weight Illusion. Why do we often look fat on unprofessional/unstandardized photos?

People strongly overestimate body weight for faces photographed from a lower vantage point while underestimating it for faces photographed from a higher vantage point.

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Fluency. Ease of processing amplifies affective judgement.

Processing fluency serves as a gratifying explanation for various phenomena, including dynamics in judgements of truth, familiarity, fame, typicality, confidence, and especially liking. Among these dimensions increasing fluency was found to amplify the reactions or judgements. Meanwhile, it is assumed that processing fluency has a hedonic quality because it indicates the successful and error-free perceiving, recognizing and interpreting of a target. We investigated the assumption of hedonic quality and found fluency rather to be sign of unambiguity.

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Aesthetic Aha

Aesthetic Aha. The pleasure of gaining insight

Positive affect can be gained not only by arriving at an insight but by anticipating it as well.

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The appeal of Semantic Instability.

Many artworks defy an easy consumption; still they are able to reach high popularity, but why?

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ESF-Project "Multimodal Marketing for SMEs" The usage of all five senses for a successful presentation of products and services.

The main research areas of the Department of General Psychology and Methodology at the University of Bamberg are human perception, sensations, thinking and acting. Many of our empirical findings are appreciable for marketing purposes. On the basis of this research the concept of the current project “Multimodal Marketing for SMEs” has been developed that local small and middle enterprises (SMEs) can profit from the findings and improve their presenting of their products and services.

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