Tone Roald

Tone Roald

Associate Professor

Office hours: Mondays 14:00-15:00

Primary fields of research

Research fields

Art, aesthetics, consciousness, developmental psychology, emotion theories, general psychology, hermeneutics, identity theories, metaphors, personality psychology, phenomenology, phenomenological psychology, theory of science, qualitative methods. 

Research group memberships

Psychological humanities

Research: brief description

  • The nature of aesthetic experience

In this project we investigate the overarching question of how art works. Our aim to show how experiences with art influence pre-reflective features of the self. The pre-reflective has frequently been proposed as particularly present in experiences with art. It refers to the intertwined bodily and affective dimensions, and will be investigated through empirical studies at major art museums based on well-established methods in phenomenological psychology. Through descriptions of experience (obtained via qualitative interviews and observation) and theoretical analyses, we will formulate a theory about the complex combinations of movements, gestures, facial expressions, and emotions as components of aesthetic experience. This way we will, for the first time, explain the psychological importance of art for the pre-reflective self and thereby provide a platform for a new understanding of art and its significance.

  • The transformation of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy into psychology

This project involves the application of the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s work on subjectivity and pre-reflection to psychology, both when it comes to psychological aesthetics as well as to  developmental psychology. It is a continuation of my Postdoctoral work, initially supported by funding from the Danish Research Council.

  • Phenomenological Principles in Developmental Psychology

In this project we empirically investigate how infants develop meaning through the use of their bodies in relation to their primary care giver, using the theories and methods of phenomenology and phenomenological psychology. The goal is to develop a theory about how infants use movement as dialogue. The project is supported by funding by the Danish Research Council.  

Major grants

2021: Received the Carlsberg Monograph Fellowhip "for leading visionary reserachers within the humanities and social sciences with a project aimed at producing a groundbreaking monograph or advanced Danish doctoral dissertation"

2018: Recived the Carlsberg Foundation Distinguished Fellowship prize. Project title: Aesthetic experience. An empirical investigation in phenomenological psychology (PI: Tone Roald, 4.497.286 DKK). Start date: 1st. of May 2020.

2016: Received a Sapere Aude award and grant for outstanding young reserachers from the Danish Council for Independent Research. Project title: Aesthetic experience and the pre-reflective self (Principal investigator: Tone Roald, 7.053.520 DKK). Startdate: March 2017.

2014-2017: Share of grant (6.453.380 DKK) from the Danish Council for Independent Research (PI Simo Køppe) “Motor dialogue and motor intentions in early infancy”

2009: Post-Doc grant (1,665,000 DKK) from the Danish Council for Independent Research “Merleau-Ponty’s Psychology”

2006: Three-year PhD-scholarship from the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen


Bachelor-project, Master's theses, Personality Psychology, Theory of Science and the History of Psychology, Qualitative Methods.

Selected publications


Roald, T. (2015). The Subject of Aesthetics. Leiden, the Netherlands and Boston, MA: Brill. With a preface by Professor Hans Ulric Gumbrecht (Stanford University).

Roald, T. & Lang, J. (Eds.). (2013). Art and Identity. Essays on the Aesthetic Creation of Mind . Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi

With contributions by Professor Ciaran Benson (University College Dublin), Professor Gerald Cupchik (University of Toronto), Associate Professor Bjarne Sode Funch (Roskilde University Center), Associate Professor Judy Gammelgaard (University of Copenhagen), Professor Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Stanford University), Professor Mark Johnson (University of Oregon), Associate Professor Simo Køppe (University of Copenhagen), and Kasper Levin (University of Copenhagen).

Roald, T. (2007). Cognition in Emotion: An Investigation through Experiences with Art. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi.


Roald, T. (2014). Aesthetics. In Thomas Teo (ed.). Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology. New York: Springer.

Roald, T. and Køppe, S. (2015). Sense and psyche: Hidden potentials in psychological aesthetics. Journal of Philosophical and Theoretical Psychology, 35(1): 20-34.

Roald, T. (2011).Hacia una Psicología Fenomenológica de la Apreciación Artística [Toward a Phenomenology of Art Appreciation, (Trns.)]. Culture and Subjectivity.

Roald, T. (2009). 走向艺术欣赏的现象学心理学 [Toward a Phenomenology of Art Appreciation, P. Fasheng (Trns.)].  文化艺术研究 [Studies in Culture and Art], 2(3), 210-219.

Roald, T. (2008). Toward a Phenomenology of Art Appreciation. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology. 39(2), 189-212.

Roald, T., & Køppe, S. (2008). Generalisering i kvalitative metoder. Psyke & Logos 29(1), 86-99.

ID: 10503