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    Exploring inner worlds: where cognitive psychology may take us

    Smith, Tim J. and Christie, Ian (2012) Exploring inner worlds: where cognitive psychology may take us. In: Christie, Ian (ed.) Audiences. The Key Debates: Mutations and Appropriations in European Film Studies. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 9789089643629.

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    Tim Smith researches visual cognition through a variety of techniques that capture what subjects do when they watch naturalistic visual scenes. Although much research into scene perception uses static visual scenes, he is interested in how we process dynamic visual scenes, including feature films. Using techniques such as tracking the eye movements of viewers watching film sequences in combination with behavioural probes during and after viewing, he investigates the cognitive processes occurring during film viewing. His research has contributed to a computational model of fixation durations in scene viewing (Nuthmann, Smith, Engbert, & Henderson, 2010), and he has proposed an Attentional Theory of Cinematic Continuity (Smith, 2012), which has attracted the interest of ‘cognitivist’ film scholars, leading to his involvement in a number of presentations and projects that use empirical testing and modelling to explain what happens when we watch film sequences. I too am interested in the long history of attempts to understand the perceptual and cognitive processes involved in film viewing, which stretch from pioneering work by Munsterberg and Rank in the 1910s, through the renewed interest of Russian psychologists in the 1920s, following Pavlov’s classic studies in conditioning, and later of the Gestalt school, up to present-day work such as that of James Cutting (starting from the ‘psychophysics’ tradition) and Uri Hasson (‘neurocinematics’). In this exchange, written as a dialogue over several months, I invite Tim Smith to summarise some of his own work and to speculate on what value it may have for non-scientists interested in understanding how and why we perceive film as we do – and how this may be changing


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the (BIMI), Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Tim Smith
    Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2015 08:34
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:17


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