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ASA Dissertation Fellow Completes PhD

Wednesday, March 18, 2020  
Posted by: Julie Van Camp
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The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to announce that Madeleine Ransom, University of British Columbia, recipient of the ASA Dissertation Fellowship for 2017-18, has completed her PhD degree.

She has received an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on bias in perceptual learning at Indiana University Bloomington with Professor Rob Goldstone. This is the abstract for Ransom's dissertation, "Perceptual Learning for Expertise."

What does the aesthetic expert have that the novice does not? One component of expertise may be perceptual, involving a change in what we are able to perceive. Experts develop the ability to taste some subtle flavors of a wine, or hear minute variations in pitch imperceptible to the novice. More controversially, they perceive that a painting is garish, beautiful, or a Picasso. In this dissertation I defend the perceptual expertise thesis: through perceptual learning aesthetic experts come to perceive high-level properties imperceptible to novices. This provides the foundation needed for a theory of aesthetic perception, and reconciles a puzzle in aesthetic concerning our critical practices.

The next deadline for the ASA Dissertation Fellowship will be January 1, 2021, for the 2021-22 academic year. The award is for $25,000, plus an additional $5,000 for tuition and fees.

The winner of the 2020-21 Fellowship will be announced on April 1, 2020. Previous winners of the Fellowship:

2019-20: Kathryn Wojtkiewicz, Graduate Center, City University of New York
2018-19: Caitlin Dolan, University of California, Berkeley
2017-18: Madeleine Ransom, University of British Columbia
2016-17: Marilynn Johnson, Graduate Center, City University of New York
2015-16: David Johnson, Northwestern University

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