This article questions certain assumptions concerning film form made by the recent (neuro)psychological film research and compares them to those of precursors of film psychology like Hugo Münsterberg and Rudolf Arnheim, as well as the principles of Gestalt psychology. It is argued that principles of Gestalt psychology such as those of ‘good form’ and good continuation are still underlying the psychological research of film, becoming particularly apparent in its approach to continuity editing. Following an alternative Gestalt genealogy that links Gestalt theory with more recent dynamic models of brain activity and with accounts of brain complexity and neuronal synchronisation, the article concludes that psychological research on film needs to shift the focus from form to transformation, both in conceiving the perceptual and cognitive processing of films and in approaching film aesthetics more broadly.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Anderson J. D. (1996). The reality of illusion: An ecological approach to cognitive film theory. Carbondale and Edwardsville US: Southern Illinois University Press.
Arnheim R. (1957). Film as art. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
Arnheim R. (1974) . Art and visual perception: A psychology of the creative eye. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
Arnheim R. (1997). Visual thinking (2nd ed.). Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
Berliner T. & Cohen D. (2011). The illusion of continuity: Active perception and the classical editing system. Journal of Film and Video 63(1) 44–63.
Bordwell D. (2002). Intensified continuity: Visual style in contemporary American film. Film Quarterly 55(3) 16–28.
Bordwell D. & Thompson K. (Eds.). (2008). Film art: An introduction (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Boundas C. (2009). Gilles Deleuze: The intensive reduction. London: Continuum.
Carroll N. (1988). Mystifying movies. New York: Columbia University Press.
Cutting J. (2010). In reply to Barry Salt: On attention and the evolution of Hollywood film. Cinemetrics. Retrieved from http://www.cinemetrics.lv/cutting_on_salt.php (11.10.2016)
Cutting J. E. Brunick K. L. DeLong J. E. Iricinschi C. & Candan A. (2011). Quicker faster darker: Changes in Hollywood film over 75 years. i-Perception 2(6) 569.
Cutting J. E. Brunick K. L. & Candan A. (2012). Perceiving event dynamics and parsing Hollywood films. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 38(6) 1476–1490.
Cutting J. & Candan A. (2013). Movies evolution and mind: From fragmentation to continuity. The Evolutionary Review 4(1) 25–36.
D’Aloia A. & Eugeni R. In press. Connecting (and dis-connecting) events. A neurofilmological approach to narrative time. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ruggero_Eugeni/publication/306119820_Connecting_and_disconnecting_events_A_neurofilmological_approach_to_narrative_time/links/57b2ec6e08aeac3177847d80.pdf
Ehrenzweig A. (1953). The psycho-analysis of artistic vision and hearing. London: Routledge.
Gombrich E. H. (1960). Art and illusion: A study in the psychology of pictorial representation. New York NY: Bollingen Series XXXV.5.
Hansen M. (2014). Feed-forward: On the Future of Twenty-first century media. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Hasson U. Landesman O. Knappmeyer B. Vallines I. Rubin N. & Heeger D. J. (2008). Neurocinematics. Projections 2(1) 1–26.
Köhler W. (1947). Gestalt psychology: An introduction to new concepts in modern psychology. New York: New American Library.
Magliano J. P. & Zacks J. M. (2011). The impact of continuity editing in narrative film on event segmentation. Cognitive Science 35(8) 1489–1517.
Münsterberg H. (1916). The photoplay: A psychological study. New York and London: Appleton.
Noë A. & O’Regan J. K. (2000). Perception attention and the grand illusion. Psyche 6(15) 6–15.
Poulaki M. (2015). Brain science and film theory: Reassessing the place of cognitive discontinuity in cinema. Projections 9(1) 23–42.
Rodowick D. N. (2007). The virtual life of film. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Shaviro S. (2010). Post cinematic affect. Winchester: John Hunt Publishing.
Smith T. J. (2005): An attentional theory of continuity editing (PhD dissertation). University of Edinburgh Edinburgh. Retrieved from https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/1076 (11.10.2016)
Spivey M. (2007). The continuity of mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Spivey M. & Dale R. (2004). On the continuity of mind: Toward a dynamical account of cognition. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation 45 87–142.
Tan E. (1994). Film-induced affect as a witness emotion. Poetics 23 7–32.
Tognoli E. & Kelso S. J. A. (2014). Enlarging the scope: Grasping brain complexity. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 8 122.
Wagemans J. Feldman J. Gepshtein S. Kimchi R. Pomerantz J. R. van der Helm P. A. & van Leeuwen C. (2012). A century of gestalt psychology in visual perception II. Conceptual and theoretical foundations. Psychological Bulletin 138(6) 1218–1252.
Zacks J. M. Speer N. K. & Reynolds J. R. (2009). Segmentation in reading and film comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 138(2) 307.
Zacks J. M. Speer N. K. Swallow K. M. & Maley C. J. (2010). The brain’s cutting-room floor: Segmentation of narrative cinema. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 4 168.
Zacks J. M. & Magliano J. (2011). Film narrative and cognitive neuroscience. In F. Bacci & D. Melcher (Eds.) Art and the senses (pp. 435–453). Oxford: Oxford University Press.