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Dr. phil. Steffen Lepa M.A.


Scientific collaborateur in cluster-of-excellence research project Medium und Emotion

Leader of research project:
"Survey Musik und Medien. Empirische Basisdaten und theoretische Modellierung der Mediatisierung alltäglicher Musikrezeption in Deutschland"

Office hours: Tuesdays 12-14h (Room H 2001 E)
If you are planning a visit, please send me an email in advance!


E-Mail: steffen.lepa AT tu-berlin.de
Phone: +49 30 314 29313
Telefax: +49 30 314 21143

Private website

Research interests

  • Media reception / media use
  • Media education / instructional design
  • Social research methodology
  • Computer-based research and analysis instruments
  • Neurocognitive social media psychology
  • Bologna process and study programmee evaluation
  • Digital Cultures and media philosophy
  • Sound design, film music, multimedia production
  • youth culture / adolescence research




Attuning with the Artwork - Theodor Lipps' Concept of Aesthetische Einfühlung and the Case of Mediatized Music
Citation key lepa_attuning_2011
Author Lepa, Steffen
Title of Book German Studies DAAD Summer School for Postgraduates: Stimmungen - Climates - Moods - Atmospheres
Year 2011
Address Edinburgh (UK)
Abstract The writings of early German Psychologist Theodor Lipps (1851 - 1914) regarding the phenomenon of “Einfühlung” (later translated as “empathy” by Edward Titchener) have lately gained a new interest in the light of neuroscientific findings on “emotional contagion” - our organism’s (suppressible) tendency of creating corresponding autonomic and somatic responses when directly confronted with emotional gestures of other people (Preston & de Waal, 2002) - an idea that was already postulated by Lipps at the beginning of the 20th century. Additionally, his theoretical approach stresses a certain similarity of the cognitive mechanism for empathy towards persons and the mechanism for empathy towards aesthetic objects like visual artworks and music. The most outstanding aspect of his work from the viewpoint of current aesthetics might be that it is on the one hand based on a naturalistic ontology with postulating basic psychological laws of aesthetic apperception, while on the other hand it is not running into the trap of proposing aesthetic universals unlike the theories of many of Lipps’s contemporaries. In the centre of his theory on Aesthetische Einfühlung, Lipps (1900) also employs the concept of “Stimmung” which denotes a kind of “inner attunement” that he sees as a necessary condition for “sympathetic empathy”: Just when there is an “Einklang” (unison) between the conditions and dispositions of the observer and the conditions of experience embodied by the Gestalt of the perceived object, aesthetic enjoyment of the artwork gets possible. The way he uses the term “Stimmung” therefore employs the concept of acoustic resonance developed by psychophysicist Hermann von Helmholtz to create a naturalistic metaphor of aesthetic experience. My presentation deals with the attempt to transfer these ideas to nowadays practices of “deep listening” (Krueger, 2009) to mediatized music.
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Curriculum Vitae

since 2012
Project leader of national-funded research project “Survey Musik und Medien. Empirische Basisdaten und theoretische Modellierung der Mediatisierung alltäglicher Musikrezeption in Deutschland” as part of the DFG-priority programme DFG-Schwerpunktprogramms “Mediatisized Worlds” .

since 2010
Postdoc researcher at the Audio Communication Group, Institute for Language and Communication at Technical University of Berlin, in the research project “Medium und Emotion” as part of the Berlin Cluster of Excellence network “Languages of Emotion

2009 – 2010
Teaching appointment for questionaire design and graphical data analysis with SPSS at the Faculty for Education and Social Sciences at Oldenburg University

2009 – 2010
Scientific lecturer (social research methodology) at the Institute for Pedagogics der Universität Oldenburg

2009 – 2010
Teaching appointment for multivariate statistics at the Faculty for Education and Social Sciences at Oldenburg University

September 2009
Promotion to a Doctor of Philosophy (“summa cum laude”) by the Faculty for Education and Social Sciences of Oldenburg University with the dissertation thesis:
“Jenseits des Films. Quantitativ-inhaltsanalytische Rekonstruktion von filmischen Verstehens- und Aneignungsprozessen mit Hilfe der Postrezeptiven Lesartenanalyse (PLA)”, supervised by Prof. Yvonne Ehrenspeck (general pedagogics) und Prof. Bernard Kittel (social research methodology)

2007 – 2010
Scientific lecturer (media education, social research methodology) at the Institute for Pedagogics at Oldenburg University

2007 – 2009
Teaching appointment for statistics with SPSS at the Faculty for Education and Social Sciences at Oldenburg University

2005 – 2009
Teaching appointment for digital audio editing at Braunschweig University of Fine Arts

2005 – 2007
Scientific research assistant in the national funded research project “Kommunikatbildungsprozesse Jugendlicher zur Todesthematik und Filmische Instruktionsmuster” at the Arbeitsbereich “Philosophie der Erziehung” (Prof. Dieter Lenzen) at Freien Universität Berlin

2005 – 2006
Teaching appointment for information psychology at the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences

2003 – 2005
Master Study of Media Management at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media (Master of Arts degree, final grade: 1,5 / ECTS-Grade B – very good)

2003 – 2005
Responsible leader of the digital audio studio of the Central Media Service Unit at Braunschweig University of Fine Arts

Student research assistent at the BmBF/MWK-funded research project “CRIMP – Criteria for Evaluation of Audiovisuals in Multimedia Production“, of the Research Centre L3S, University of Hannover

1998 – 2003
Master study of Media Studies, Psychology and Media Technology at the Technical University of Braunschweig and Braunschweig University of Fine Arts (Master of Arts degree with final grade: 1,3)

1997 – 1998
Alternative civilian service at the daycare house for the elderly disabled of Lebenshilfe gGmbH, Braunschweig

University entrance diploma (“Abitur”) in English, Music, History (bilingual) und Computer Science at the Gymnasium Ricarda-Huch-Schule, Braunschweig, Germany (final grade: 1,8)

born on July, 30th 1978 in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany.


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