Alexander Kranjec

Associate Professor
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

217 Rockwell Hall
Phone: 412.396.1613


Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, City University of New York, 2006
B.A., Philosophy, Grinnell College, 1995
Bio and Expertise

Alexander Kranjec studied philosophy at Grinnell College. He later received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. After completing his studies, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Neurology Department and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, occasionally teaching at their Summer Neuroscience Bootcamp for lay professionals. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University, Adjunct Faculty at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, and a Community Member of the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent his sabbatical as a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Dr. Kranjec is the director of the Art & Language Lab* at Duquesne University. His lab uses cognitive behavioral methods, neuroimaging (fMRI), non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS), case studies, and lesion analysis techniques (in patients with focal brain damage) to investigate how meaning is represented in the mind and brain, and in different media like art and language. He has published extensively on topics pertaining to language, spatial & temporal cognition, and neuroaesthetics. He is particularly interested in developing approaches to empirical aesthetics that go beyond sensation and perception in order to better understand how meaningful relations between people and things produce different kinds of aesthetic experiences. His research has received international coverage in The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, Wired, and Science among many other popular press publications. He has been interviewed by NPR and the BBC.

Art & Language Lab:


• Cognitive Neuroscience
• Neuroaesthetics
• Psychology of Art
• Abstract Concepts
• Meaning

Representative Publications
Representative Publications

Kranjec, A., Lehet M., Woods A.J., & Chatterjee, A. (2019) Time Is Not More Abstract Than Space in Sound. Frontiers in Psychology. 10:48.

Kranjec, A. (2018). Representational Biases in Space and Language. In T. Hubbard (Ed.), Spatial Biases in Perception and Cognition (pp. 94-106). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kranjec, A. (2015). Conceptual Art Made Simple for Neuroaesthetics. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Special Issue: Neuroaesthetics: Neuroscience of Aesthetics).

Kranjec, A., Lupyan, G., Chatterjee, A. (2014). Categorical Biases in Perceiving Spatial Relations. PLoS ONE.

Kranjec, A. (2013). Thought is a Material: Talking with Mel Bochner about Space, Art, and Language. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 25:12, 2015-2024.

Kranjec, A., Ianni, G., & Chatterjee, A. (2013). Schemas reveal spatial relations to a patient with simultanagnosia. Cortex.

Kranjec, A., Cardillo, E., Schmidt, G., Lehet, M., & Chatterjee, A. (2012). Deconstructing events: The neural bases for space, time, and causality. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 24:1, 1-16.

Kranjec, A., & McDonough, L. (2011). The implicit and explicit embodiment of time. Journal of Pragmatics. 43: 3, 735-738. (Special Issue: The Language of Space and Time)

Kranjec, A., Chatterjee, A. (2010). Are temporal concepts embodied? A challenge for cognitive neuroscience. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00240. (Special Issue: Embodied and grounded cognition)

Kranjec, A., Lehet, M., Bromberger, B., Chatterjee, A. (2010) A Sinister Bias for Calling Fouls in Soccer. PLoS ONE. 5(7): e11667. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011667

Kranjec, A., Cardillo, E., Schmidt, G., & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Prescribed spatial prepositions influence how we think about time. Cognition, 114:1, 111-116.

Other Scholarly Work
Undergraduate Courses

Brain, Behavior, and Cognition, PSYC 220

Laboratory in Psychological Research, PSYC 321

Graduate Courses 

Physiological Psychology, PSYC 560