Affiliated and Emeritus Faculty

Ellen Winner

Professor Emerita




Ellen Winner's research focuses on two broad issues in the area of cognition in the arts: (1) the impact of arts education on the development of thinking dispositions or habits of mind such as reflection, exploration, and observation; and (2) experimental aesthetics—examining how we reason about philosophical questions about the arts, questions such as why we dislike perfect fakes and how we judge skill in abstract art. This research is based on a view of the arts as cognitive as well as affective, and on the assumption that the arts are a central aspect of human behavior which must be incorporated into our understanding of development, cognition, and education.

Representative Publications

Hetland, L., Winner, E., Veenema, S., & Sheridan, K. (2013). Studio Thinking 2: The real benefits of visual arts education.  Second Edition. Teachers College Press.

Winner, E. (2019). How art works: A psychological exploration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rabb, N., Brownell, H., & Winner, E. (2018). Essentialist beliefs in aesthetic judgments of duplicate artworks. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 12(3), 284-293.

Drake, J. E., & Winner, E. (2018). Why deliberate practice is not enough: Evidence from drawing talent. In D. Z. Hambrick, G. Campitelli, & B. N. Macnamara (Eds.),The science of expertise: Behavioral, neural, genetic approaches to complex skill (pp. 101-128). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.