Cognitive Science and Film Theory

Cynthia Freeland

For American Society for Aesthetics

Panel on Cognitive Science and the Arts

October 31, 1997, Santa Fe

 

Introductory remarks

Cognitive science proposes to revolutionize aesthetic theory. Like aesthetics, cognitive science is remarkably interdisciplinary. What is fundamental are certain methods and an emphasis on empirical study of the mind. This may contrast with approaches to understanding the mind in traditional aesthetics. Diana Raffman’s book Lanaguage, Music and Mind is one recent example of this reformist approach. Raffman critically quotes George Dickie’s more traditional rejection of an empirical approach to aesthetics back in 1971; he wrote "I am convinced that the problem of the description o f the nature of aesthetic experience is not a task to which the techniques of empirical science are relevant." [footnote 1]. Raffman’s response is twofold, and indicative of general tendencies of cognitive science. She argues that (1) "cognitive science has rich implications for the philosophy of art"; and (2), aesthetics must be taken seriously by cognitive scientists who wish to learn more about the mind. [footnote 2]

Cognitive Science and Film Theory

"Cognitivism" is gaining ground in film theory, as shown in four recent books I shall mention, [footnote 3] but this does not indicate reliance on cognitive science per se. (For example, neuroscience studies of emotions have not yet had much impact.) Cognitivists reject dominant views in film studies: Saussurean linguistics, Metz’s semiotics, and psychoanalytic accounts of neurotic viewer responses to or ideological victimization by film. [footnote 4] Gregory Currie states, "Psychoanalysis is false. If we use psychology to study film, we should use cognitive science" (xiii). As an alternative, cognitivists posit fairly universal psychological structures humans have evolved that are relevant to viewing films, and they rely upon recent empirical approaches to describing the relevant psychological structures. Some of these abilities concern visual information processing and others concern emotional response.

In my remarks I shall concentrate on some key issues discussed in the recent books. One such issue = is whether film is an illusion. A second, which I do not address here, concerns whether film is a language. And third I shall briefly mention issues as yet undeveloped concerning interpretation. I conclude with some brief critical remarks about problems with the newer cognitive approaches to film studies.

Illusion

The illusion issue has two aspects: (1) Are the perceptual processes involved in viewing films best described in terms of certain illusions? and (2) Does an illusion-based account explain our emotional and imaginative engagement with films? The current debate about film as illusion can be seen as stemming from two distinct disciplinary approaches, psychology and philosophy. The psychologists (Anderson and Tan) are pro-illusion, the philosophers (Currie and Carroll) are contra. It is actually hard to pin down this debate. Most of the parties do not seem to know of or refer to one another; and also, their grounding in the contemporary literature of cognitive science is quite diverse. [footnote 5] I hope to suggest that the debate itself is perhaps somewhat illusory.

Some options about film as illusion are described by Noël Carroll in The Philosophy of Horror, 1990 (for a summary, see Tan, p. 228). Carroll differentiates three views he calls the illusion theory, the pretend theory, and the "thought" theory. Carroll himself endorses the thought theory. Gregory Currie defends a simulation theory which is like what Carroll calls the pretend theory. The psychologist Joseph Anderson endorses a strong version of illusion theory, and the other psychologist Ed S. Tan also defends illusionism, but sides with Carroll.

Anderson starts off his book asking, "Why do movies look so real?" His answer is, "because they are illusions." Like the other cognitive theorists, Anderson emphasizes certain universals involved in viewing films. Through trial and error, films have developed conventions and styles that are realistic and "potentially acceptable to every human being on earth" (11-12).

Anderson's pro-illusion account rests on an explanation of how stimuli (images, actions, sound, light) interact with a program that "runs" in the mind of the viewer. His view is explicitly modeled on perceptual psychologist J.J. Gibson’s "ecological" approach to visual perception. [footnote 6] Anderson also cites work on vision by David Marr, who revised Gibson’s theory by introducing the notion of computations (29, 31). [footnote 7] Contemporary computational theory describes mechanisms for the actuation of perception as involving "a central processing unit, the brain... [which] is standard...and universal" (12). Examples of the perceptual features he explores (see Chapter 4) include motion perception, brightness, depth, motion parallax, perspective, texture gradients, and color. [footnote 8]

Anderson is pretty straightforward about film: "The motion picture can be thought of as a program....The viewer can be thought of as a standard audio/video processor" (12). "Filmmakers can be seen as programmers who develop programs to run on a computer they do not understand and whose operating system was designed for another purpose" (12). We can see more about how filmmakers run these programs by looking at the "hardware," i.e. the brain, neurons, and neural system generally.

Anderson also analyzes things like the nature of continuity in standard Hollywood film. Examining the cuts in some key scenes of Casablanca, he discusses how the filmmakers adhere to standard rules for visual perception in their use of a number of devices such as match-action cuts, jump cuts, invisible cuts, and the general depiction of settings in three-dimensional space. The details here are fascinating to anyone who loves films. (And they are altogether absent from Currie’s book.)

Even better are the discussions briefly mentioned in Hochberg and Brooks’ article in Post-Theory, "Movies in the Mind’s Eye." They mention how a filmmaker like Chris Marker in La Jetée (1964) might deliberately violate standard conventions of the depiction of motion so as to disrupt our expectations and habits of seeing (376). [footnote 9] Clearly, what is now needed are cognitivist accounts of not just perception but higher-order mental processing. Another promising account along these ecological lines is offered by James Peterson in his Post-Theory article, "Is a Cognitive Theory of Avant-garde Cinema Perverse?" Peterson’s answer is no, and he develops an inferential (as opposed to semiotic) account of the cognitive procedures a viewer may employ to understand even abstract, seemingly irrational films like Bunuel and Dali’s Un Chien Andalou or allegedly "precognitive" films by Stan Brakhage. Peterson refers to parallel work by Jackendoff and Gombrich on cognitive processing of music and decorative visual art (116). [footnote 10] Anderson admits that films that violate the standard conventions on cuts or narrative sequences will be much harder for audiences to read. So it is interesting to see the application of his ecological approach to avant-garde cinema worked out in more detail by Peterson.

Currie rejects illusionism in his Chapter 1, "The myth of illusion" (19-47). [footnote 11] In fact, Currie distinguishes cognitive from perceptual illusions (21), and rejects both as doctrine about films. [footnote 12] It is actually rather difficult to line Currie’s reasoning on perceptual illusions up against Anderson’s. It seems clear, at least, that they disagree on the topic of the movement illusion (34, see also 42). Currie writes, "There is no illusion of movement in cinema. There is real movement, really perceived." [footnote 13]

Even here, though, a closer look suggests less that Currie’s account is simply more philosophically subtle and sophisticated than Anderson’s--or, more "metaphysical." To ground his analysis Currie refers to recent discussions of colors as "apparent properties" which are "response-dependent" and so not actual illusions. [footnote 14] "Colours are appearances but not illusory" (42). Currie uses this category or label to argue that cinematic images too are response-dependent. This comparison with color also explains the perception of movement in cinema (34). Currie’s discussion is philosophically deeper than Anderson’s but it is much less informed by empirical research. Currie asserts that we simply see an object on the screen, whether Cary Grant or Mickey Mouse, and see it move as the image moves, but he does not take into account any of the vast number of techniques that have been developed to ensure these continuities (as Anderson does in discussing the strategies of types of cuts, eye level matches, etc.).

Currie also rejects the idea that film involves cognitive illusions, the doctrine "that the film viewer believes he or she is watching real events" (or that the viewer has false beliefs, 28). Instead Currie develops his own account of imagination in chapters 5 and 6, offering "a naturalistic, biological explanation of imagination" (142). Imagination must be seen as having a normal function in human life (141), and we must turn to the literature of psychologists and other researchers to understand it: "We cannot answer all the philosophically interesting questions about imagination by a combination of introspection and a priori analysis."

Currie refers particularly to experiments concerning autistic children, whose imaginative abilities are minimal or absent. What they lack, he and others think, is not just a matter of calculation. Imagination involves knowing-how, not knowing-that: I simply "observe how I do respond in imagination." Or in other words, a person who imagines someone else’s mental states will take on other beliefs and desires, but they "run off-line"(144) as Currie phrases it, or in other words, "disconnected from their normal sensory inputs and behavioural outputs."

Currie’s explanation of our emotional response to and interpretation of film rests on his simulationist account of imagination (for the definition, see 145). Simulation is a natural human ability; the fact that our minds are similar has given us an evolutionary advantage (here he cites Roy Sorensen, 146-7). We are able to identify salient factors in the environment and convey information about them successfully to our fellows. Our enjoyment of films or novels reflects this natural activity of simulation. In appreciating fictions we simulate beliefs and desires of represented individuals. [footnote 15]

Currie’s emphasis on consciousness and simulation strongly contrasts with psychologist Tan’s view of film as an "emotion machine." Tan shifts the emphasis from viewers who simulate and actively interpret to filmmakers who generate and manipulate our emotional responses through aspects of narrative and other film mechanisms.

Tan summarily dismisses a primitive version of illusion theory: it is just not the case that viewers are subject to a "delusion" and really believe the film is real. But he is pro-illusion. How can this be? Tan criticizes philosophers for adopting an all-or-nothing view of the experience of reality (239, n. 133), when in fact there are degrees: people can and do have "at least some belief in the reality of the film" (228) without being deceived. Tan says that viewers have "multiple coding": an awareness both that the filmed world is "real" and that it is also a construction (66-7). [footnote 16] He argues that film creates an illusion in this sense, but not a delusion. He approves of use of the term "illusion" in what Carroll described as an "epistemologically benign" sense (230).

Tan rejects the pretending or simulation account of our emotional engagement with film worlds. He says (Chapter 3) that film evokes "witness emotions." In Chapter 6, Tan focuses more specifically on certain character structures, notably, empathy and interest. Contrary to the customary view of identification, he argues that film "systematically manipulates a certain view of the film characters" (13). This contrasts, Tan thinks, with simulation or pretend theory (247). Like Carroll, Tan criticizes the simulation theory as phenomenologically untrue to the facts. Our film emotions are genuine--we are not merely pretending. Tan points to examples of sexual titillation or of humor, where our responses to film may be very strong indeed (235).

Tan also follows Carroll in seeing a distinction between the pretend theory and what he labels the thought theory. He favors the thought theory as more in accord with the functional standpoint on emotions that he borrows from his psychologist colleague Fridja. On such a view, emotions involve "concerns," and this leads to responses; but Tan thinks that there are also concerns and responses in the case of films, too. As Tan argues, "Thoughts can have some kind of apparent reality, and they can be related to concerns" (235).

Thus Tan's account turns out to sound a lot like Currie’s view, and unfortunately, the distinction between the pretend theory and the thought theory becomes hard to draw. In fact, in summarizing them, Tan seems to be open to both. That is, he writes, "The mimetic fantasy of a world that I view as possible evokes a genuine emotion, say, alarm. The simple fact that I find it difficult to shake off this alarming possibility testifies to the genuineness of the concern." So Tan thinks that the pretend theory approaches the thought theory. This would seem to be quite correct about Currie’s version of simulation theory too. "Simulating" here does not always indicate consciously controlled pretense. And neither will "thinking" about things in Carroll’s sense of the "thought theory" of film emotions.

Tan emphasizes that he doesn’t mean that we can’t escape the illusions of film, or that we’re passive in the face of them (this is a difference from the psychoanalytic account). He identifies a number of relevant kinds of illusions, and describes each in considerable detail. Most of these are what Currie would classify as cognitive illusions, but they include the illusion of motion (236). Here again (like Anderson) Tan is much better than Currie because of the extensive empirical literature he cites, including recent studies (on the perspective illusion by Kubovy 1986, and on movement by Warren and Kurtz 1992 (69, see also numerous other references on 236). There are, for example, major effects of camera motion on an observer’s perceived self-motion. However, Tan says, this sort of illusion makes only a "modest" contribution to film e-motion.

Other illusions fall under the broad label of the "illusion of diegetic effect" (52, 237) where the viewer has an illusion of being present in the fictional world being portrayed, or is present "in imagine" (this is what Allen has called the "projective illusion," 227). At the more fine-grained level Tan even describes various subillusions, such as the "illusion of the controlled witness" (239; see also Chapter 3 preview, 13): "One personally witnesses what is taking place in the fictional world" (54). This illusion puts both maximum and minimum limits on emotion (241). There is also the "illusion of the observational attitude" (246), wherein we are forced to observe as a silent witness. Tan uses his account of these various illusions to argue that both empathetic and malevolent attitudes are imposed by a film.

In short, Currie offers a simulationist view emphasizing our activity in reading and interpreting films, whereas Tan (despite his protests) describes a viewer who is basically passive, or at best, a stimulus-response machine. He emphasizes that film "systematically manipulates a certain view of film characters" (13, preview of Ch. 6).

Interpretation

Obviously, views on whether film is an illusion have an impact on accounts of interpretation. Here I will only mention some of the options briefly.

Currie considers texts and films both as similar, and as posing at least one basic challenge in common: how do we get from a certain stimulus--whether words and sentences or cinematic images and sounds--to a story that is told by these words and images? [footnote 17] Here again he employs his account of simulation. To move from stimulus to story, we must construct narratives; and in turn, we must "hypothesize about the intentional causes of whatever it is that is being interpreted" (226). Interpretation of a fiction is similar to interpretation we all do more broadly as an everyday skill when we interpret the behavior of those around us. In such cases, we take behavior to be "the evidence for an hypothesis about mental states" (235); "interpreting literary works is a species of the interpretation of behaviour" (239). There is not much of any empirical data or references to research here. But Currie argues that it is defensible to say that there are "generally valid principles of interpretation applicable across media, genres, times, and communities" (226).

Currie compares the challenge of interpretation faced by a film viewer to the challenge of visual perception faced by the human looking at an array of things in the world. He alludes to the "poverty of stimulus" argument as comparable yet disanalogous in the two types of cases. He believes that in both cases, we move from a relatively impoverished stimulus to a richer experience. However, he writes, "the first (visual perception) gets its enrichment from biology, the second (story interpretation) from culture" (232). What we acquire from culture is in part an ability to hypothesize about intentional states of others, and this brings us back to Currie’s simulation theory (242). To interpret a work, he thinks, we simulate what the author or filmmaker must have meant ("you also simulate the author in order to figure out his/her causal intentions in telling the story," 242-3). So before we can respond to a stimulus we must interpret that stimulus itself. Thus simulation plays a role both in the initial process of interpretation and then in further emotional responses to the work, so interpreted.

Currie supplies few references to existing psychological literature in this chapter. The one exception he makes is to work by "psychologist of narrative" J.J. Mandler (n. 17, 248), who has argued for the role of various schemata in narrative interpretation. Currie’s treatment of all narrative as intentionalistic strongly contrasts Tan’s view of film, for example, as an "emotion machine." Tan shifts the emphasis from viewers who simulate and actively interpret to filmmakers who generate and manipulate our emotional responses through aspects of narrative and other film mechanisms. Little by way of "reading" seems required. [footnote 18]

Anderson's account of interpretation places a great deal of emphasis on the notion of "schemata." He builds up to this by first discussing E.H. Gombrich’s notion of the various kinds of hypotheses (40) involved in interpreting the visual world (including visual art). He notes that Gombrich's idea of the schema was a psychological notion and that Gombrich was friends with Gibson, who developed the crucial notion of "affordances" (41, defined, 42). Two characteristics of human perception were first made explicit by Gibson: (1) Inferential and intellectual processes are not required for perception, even in its most complex possibilities; and (2) The recognition of affordances are (sic) inherent in the act of perception (49). A more modern revision of this notion stems from Neisser, who has discussed the example of chess (41). According to Neisser, there are "perceptual cycles" through which we build up successive interactions between cognitive schema (informing visual perception) and our visual understanding of the world (43). Anderson applies this notion to the example of seeing the large scary character of "Jaws" in a James Bond movie (where there is conflicting 2D and 3D information, 48).

Thus Anderson acknowledges that there are several modes of information processing at work in our experience of films. There is first a perceptual basis--viewing films---but then there is also the operation of higher-level categories (inferences, etc.). A basic knowledge of these facts is something that a film director depends upon in constructing a fictional world (53). Hence Anderson emphasizes the power of the film over the viewer: "The movie is not ours to 'read.' It is ours to experience as we interact with its complex program" (53).

Similarly in his chapter on narrative (Chapter 9), Anderson’s explanations refer to Neisser’s work and to his view of how schemata are employed in visual information processing (158). That is, the mind uses narrative as opposed to historical truth in remembering the events of our lives. In watching films we use viewing schemata--which are much like chess players’ schemata (155).

 

Conclusion/Remaining Problems and Issues

In conclusion, I shall briefly mention some limitations of the current state of cognitive science-based theorizing about film. Dialogue across disciplines like psychology and philosophy is still needed. Film studies scholars will lament what they may see as a tendency toward totalizing or universalizing in these accounts. Some might argue instead that there are quite distinct positions occupied by different film audiences. [footnote 19] The universality of response to film might be accounted for on a more Marxian approach as a product of mass marketing by Hollywood. I do not think that the charge of universalizing is inescapable, however. Peterson’s treatment of the cognitive schemata developed by those used to reading avant-garde films is an example of how a cognitivist can isolate and describe the inference patterns of specific types of viewers. Similarly, Tan describes interesting empirical research on specific categories or genres of films and their respective audiences. [Footnote 20] He asserts that "appreciation of the feature film as artefact can be measured" and urges the need for more research on "cinephilia" (34)--on people who have special knowledge and tend more to enjoy the " artefactual features" or mediumistic properties of film (34-5).

A second problem is a tendency toward aesthetic reductivism. Even if one can develop persuasive and plausible accounts of film as an "emotion machine" producing viewer response, I would ask what happens to the aesthetic, or to creative interpretations linking film to social and cultural issues, to broader reflections on art and the history of film, etc. Tan tries to deal with this by distinguishing film emotions from what he terms "artefact emotions"--things like our awe at the realism of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. But (consistent with his somewhat mechanist view) he proposes that filmmakers in general also manipulate our awareness of such artefact emotions and thus control even our awareness of film as a medium. They do so in ways that ensure the successful production of their own desired emotional outcomes (largely related to entertainment). I have argued in a separate paper, "The Sublime in Cinema," [footnote 21] that an account like Tan’s cannot easily capture specifically aesthetic emotions like the sublime in our response to certain films. If film is an emotion machine, then our interactions with it are very controlled--a dismal seeming conclusion for us in aesthetics.

Third and finally, the level of actual scientific knowledge employed thus far in film studies is somewhat restricted. In particular, much of what is going on now especially on the study of the emotions might soon be considered mere speculation in the light of recent work by neuroscientists on the emotions. Similarly, the entire issue of realism vs. illusionism may be framed in an outmoded way, because the "hybridized" accounts of visual perception like those Mark Rollins describes in his presentation for this panel [footnote 22] have not yet had any impact in the field.

Cynthia A. Freeland

Department of Philosophy

The University of Houston

Cfreeland@UH.edu

http://www.uh.edu/~cfreelan

 

Footnotes

1. George Dickie, "Is Psychology Relevant to Aesthetics?" The Phil. Rev. 71 (285-302, p. 302), quoted in Diana Raffman, Language, Music, and Mind (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993), p. 10.

2. Thus aesthetics, which "sometimes endures a kind of second-class citizenship in philosophy," should be seen as important because it is looking at topics in ways that "can illuminate the nature of mentality generally, and in a manner respectable by the standards of scientific psychology and philosophy of mind. If cognitive science has much to say to aesthetics, aesthetics has plenty to say in return." (Raffman, p. 10)

3. These books are:

(1) Joseph D. Anderson, The Reality of Illusion: An Ecological Approach to Cognitive Film Theory (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996).

(2) David Bordwell and Noel Carroll, eds., Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), pp. 108-129.

(3) Gregory Currie, Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

(4) Ed S. Tan, Emotion and the Structure of Narrative Film: Film as an Emotion Machine, Translated by Barbara Fasting (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996).

Other books on cognitive film theory not discussed here, for reasons of scope or their date of publication, include:

Richard Allen and Murray Smith, Eds., Film Theory and Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997); Torben Grodal, Moving Pictures: A New Theory of Film Genres, Feelings, and Cognition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997); Carl Plantinga, Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Carl Plantinga and Gregory Smith, Eds., Passionate Views (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999); and Trevor Ponech, What is Non-Fiction Cinema? (Boulder: Westview Press, 1999).

4. Anderson credits cognitivists from the mid-80’s (Bordwell in Narration in the Fiction Film and Carroll in Mystifying Movies, saying that they "freed film theory from the chokehold of the psychoanalytic/ Marxist paradigm in the eighties and replaced it with the perspective of cognitive science, which though not yet universally accepted by film scholars is now firmly in place." (pp. 8-9)

5. Anderson’s seems the most out of date; he relies extensively on the work of Marr, Gibson, and Hochberg. Currie refers far more often to philosophers rather than other representatives of cognitive science, though he does discuss quite a lot of recent literature on autism. And Tan’s references are largely drawn from psychology, especially the work on emotions and cognition by his Dutch colleague Frijda. We do not find in any of these books references to the sorts of "hybridizing" literature on visual processing that Mark Rollins cites in his paper for this panel (see conclusion below). I take it that this means such work is largely still unknown and of small impact in film studies.

6. J.J. Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979). Anderson also refers to the work of Gregory Bateson.

7. Other works referred to include Chomsky’s linguistics (37) and Gazzaniga (Nature’s Mind) on the evolution of mind (37). On details of visual perception in particular, Anderson refers to work by Humphreys and Bruce (1989), 31, 172, n. 18; and also by Ramachandran and Anstis (1986), n. 18, 172.

8. Anderson devotes chapter 5 to the relation of sound and image, but I will not go into that topic here.

9. Julian Hochberg and Virginia Brooks, "Movies in the Mind’s Eye," Post-Theory, pp. 368-87. There is also a great deal of interest in their article on the issue of viewer memory and its role in comprehension; see esp. 373-4 and 376-9.

10. Peterson’s notion of inferences or heuristics employed by knowledgeable viewers is comparable to Anderson’s idea that there are various "schemata" that we develop and employ with more familiarity to appreciate these new kinds of film. See James Peterson, "Is a Cognitive Theory of Avant-garde Cinema Perverse?," in Post-Theory, .

11. Currie outlines three possible (and related positions): he rejects Transparency and Illusionism, and accepts something he labels Likeness (21).

12. Currie rejects illusionism of both sorts, at the same time acknowledging that some do not see the two sorts (cognitive vs. perceptual illusions) as dichotomous but as falling along a continuum: he says his view can handle either picture of the nature of illusions (n. 3).

13. We should note that Currie does not cite the sorts of psychological studies of these kinds of illusions that Anderson refers to.

14. "Apparent" here just means that, for example, a thing appears red. Currie refers to work by Mark Johnston and Phillip Pettit (see n. 17, 31, and also 42-5).

15. Currie says that such mental states have both a representational aspect and a functional aspect (149); even when things are running off-line, they don’t completely lack the functional aspect. Thus you may have visceral reactions to frightening images, etc. (150), though of course, we do not act in exactly the same way as to a genuine threat. For more on bodily states see 156, and on empathy, see 158.

16. See the very interesting reference to Potter’s (1988) research on three dimensions of the perceived reality of television; pp. 68-74.

17. Currie does differentiate texts from images later in the chapter, pp. 251ff. He considers whether there is some "photographic meaning" that is literal and related to the causal origin of images, thus the analogue of literal meaning of words or sentences. He argues against such a proposal, for various reasons, including the fact that there is "trick photography" (254-6). Instead what he emphasizes as the analogue of literal meaning is what he labels "appearance meaning," the appearing, for instance, that a man has fallen over a cliff or out of a tall building.

18. Neither theorist seems especially interested in reading film according to an auteur theory, Currie explicitly sets his "Implied Author Intentionalism" apart from any commitments to auteurism (258-9).

19. For an interesting concrete example, see Eric Michaels, Bad Aboriginal Art: Tradition, Media, and Technological Horizons (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1994), which discusses ways aboriginal viewers in Australia both responded to and were puzzled by a movie like Rocky: "When Hollywood videos fail to say where Rocky’s grandmother is, or who’s taking care of his sister-in-law, Walpiri viewers discuss the matter and need to fill in what for them is missing content. By contrast, personal motivation is unusual in Aboriginal story; characters do things because the class (kin, animal, plant) of which they are members is known to behave this way" (p. 91 in "Hollywood Iconography: A Walpiri Reading," pp. 81-95).

20. See for example, James B. Weaver, III and Ron Tamborini, Eds., Horror Films: Current Research on Audience Preferences and Reactions (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996).

21. Cynthia A. Freeland, "The Sublime in Cinema," in Plantinga and Smith, Eds., Passionate Views.

22. Mark Rollins, "The Unrepresented Content of Visual Art: Evidence from Cognitive Science," ASA Panel, October 1997. Rollins cites research by P.S. Churchland, V.S. Ramachandran, and T.J. Sejnowski in Large-Scale Neuronal Theories of the Brain (MIT 1994) as well as Ramachandran's article in Vision: Coding and Efficiency, ed. Colin Blakemore (Cambridge, 1990); see Rollins, note 1.

COPYRIGHT CYNTHIA A. FREELAND, June 8,1999. All rights reserved.


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