architecture, philosophy & cognitive neuroscience

By Dr. Zak Djebbara, Aalborg University, Denmark


Latest research:

The body as the link between mind and space: A philosophical and neuroscientific discourse to understand the role of architecture in cognitive and emotional processing (2021)

Vecchiato, G., Robinson, S., Djebbara, Z., Papale, P. & Presti, P. (2021) ‘8th International Conference on Spatial Cognition: Cognition and Action in a Plurality of Spaces’. Rome/Virtual Conference. Full proceedings can also be found here. Outline. Architecture influences actions and emotions being the main stage of our everyday social interactions. This symposium will guide the […]

Scene and Place Preferences: Insights from Psychology and Neuroscience (2021)

Vartanian, O., Walther, D. B., Djebbara, Z., & Gosling, S. (2021) ‘Scene and Place Preferences: Insights from Psychology and Neuroscience’, in XXVI Congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics 2021. London/Virtual Conference. Full proceedings also found here. Outline. Our aesthetic responses to objects extend to natural scenes and indoor places. Interestingly, people exhibit greater […]

Spar Nord Foundation’s Research Prize 2021

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been awarded Spar Nord Foundation’s Research Prize this year, 2021, for my PhD thesis. I need to thank a lot of people for their efforts and unwavering support. My thesis, Expecting Space: an enactive and active inference approach to transitions, is a philosophical, psychological and cognitive neuroscientific approach to […]

A conversation – Corporeal Architecture (2021)

A conversation with Dr. Maria da Piedade Ferreira, founder of Corporeal Architecture and Lecturer at Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart – HFT and ACE – Center for Education of the Academy for Neuroscience for Architecture. This the second of a cycle, as joint initiative from the YouTube channel Corporeal Architecture. The conversation focused on the role […]

The brain dynamics of architectural affordances during transition (2021)

Djebbara, Z., Fich, L. B. and Gramann, K. (2021) ‘The brain dynamics of architectural affordances during transition’, Scientific Reports, 11(1), p. 2796. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-82504-w. Read the full paper here. Action is a medium of collecting sensory information about the environment, which in turn is shaped by architectural affordances. Affordances characterize the fit between the physical […]

The Architecture of the Virtual: An Encounter between Cognitive Neurosciences and Architecture (2020)

August, K., Djebbara, Z., Kousoulas, S., & Radman, A. (2020) ‘The Architecture of the Virtual: An Encounter between Cognitive Neurosciences and Architecture’, in 4th Ambiances Congress 2020, Ambiances, Alloaesthesia: Senses, Inventions, Worlds. Santa Barbara: Ambiances. Full text also found here. Outline. The philosophies of substance presuppose a subject which then encounters a datum. This subject […]

(Preprint) Anticipation in architectural experience: a computational neurophenomenology for architecture? (2020)

Djebbara, Z., Parr, T. and Friston, K. (2020) ‘Anticipation in architectural experience: a computational neurophenomenology for architecture?’ Available at: http://arxiv.org/abs/2011.03852 The perceptual experience of architecture is enacted by the sensory and motor system. When we act, we change the perceived environment according to a set of expectations that depend on our body and the built […]

(Preprint) Architectural Affordance Impacts Human Sensorimotor Brain Dynamics (2020)

Djebbara, Z., Fich, L. B. and Gramann, K. (2020) ‘Architectural Affordance Impacts Human Sensorimotor Brain Dynamics’, bioRxiv. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, p. 2020.10.18.344267. doi: 10.1101/2020.10.18.344267. Action is a medium of collecting sensory information about the environment, which in turn is shaped by architectural affordances. Affordances characterize the fit between the physical structure of the body […]

Architectural affordance systematically alter parieto-occipital alpha-band desynchronization (2020)

Djebbara, Z., Fich, L. B. and Gramann, K. (2020) ‘Architectural affordance systematically alter parieto-occipital alpha-band desynchronization’, in ANFA 2020: Sensing spaces, perceiving place. San Diego, US: ANFA. Stay tuned for the full-paper with improvements! Transitions are among the most fundamental architectural elements, as they distinguish between inside and outside (1). Over millennials, architectural transitions have […]

Placing “process” in the spotlight: Architectural education as a testing ground for cognitive science-design translation (2020)

Jelić, A., Djebbara, Z., Fich, L., and Tvedebrink, T. (2020) ‘Placing “process” in the spotlight: Architectural education as a testing ground for cognitive science- design translation’, in ANFA 2020: Sensing spaces, perceiving place. San Diego, US: ANFA. As the field of neuro- and cognitive science for architecture advances, the question of how research produced can […]

Winner of MoBI Award 2020!

I am pleased to announce that our project that took place in Berlin Mobile Brain/Body Imaging Lab (BeMoBIL) was awarded by Brain Products. More can be read about it here.

(Phd) Expecting space: an enactive and active inference approach to transitions (2020)

Djebbara, Z. (2020). Expecting space: an enactive and active inference approach to transitions. Aalborg Universitetsforlag. Ph.d.-serien for Det Tekniske Fakultet for IT og Design, Aalborg Universitet The following thesis is an interdisciplinary investigation of architectural transitions cast as a composite of space and experience in time. Dispersed between philosophy, architecture and cognitive neuroscience, the thesis also attempts […]

Sensorimotor brain dynamics reflect architectural affordances (2019)

Djebbara, Z., Brorson Fich, L., Petrini, L., & Gramann, K. (2019). Sensorimotor brain dynamics reflect architectural affordances. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(29), 14769-14778. Anticipating meaningful actions in the environment is an essential function of the brain. Such predictive mechanisms originate from the motor system and allow for inferring actions […]


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