BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Are movies making us smarter? The role of cinematic evolution in the Flynn Effect

    Smith, Tim J. and Essex, Claire and Bedford, Rachael (2023) Are movies making us smarter? The role of cinematic evolution in the Flynn Effect. Projections , ISSN 1934-9688.

    [img] Text
    SmithEssexBedford_2023_Projections_accepted_preprint.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript
    Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 September 2024.
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (322kB) | Request a copy
    [img] Text (Plain Text Bibliography)
    bibliography.txt - Bibliography
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (12kB)


    Standardised IQ tests have charted massive gains over the last century, known as the Flynn Effect. Over the same period, the time society spends with screens has massively increased and the composition of popular Western movies has intensified, e.g. shorter shot durations, closer shots, increasing narrative complexity. In Movies on our Minds: The Evolution of Cinematic Engagement (2021), James Cutting suggests a potential bidirectional link between the two effects: generational increase in visual processing abilities led to movie makers increasing the demands their movies place on viewer cognition, which in turn has trained societal visual processing capacity. In this commentary we review the empirical evidence for the predicted positive association between screen time and visual processing abilities. The evidence indicates that increasing exposure to intense screen experiences may be associated with faster visual processing, but a potentially decreased ability to use and reason about this information (i.e. reduced executive functions). Further, effects may be dependent on the type of screen experience (e.g. developmental appropriateness of content and content delivery platform such as TikTok) and other environmental considerations (e.g. socioeconomic status, parenting) suggesting that the factors influencing our evolving media/mind niche may be more complex than originally proposed.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Film theory, intelligence, visual attention, film history, cognitive development
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Tim Smith
    Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2023 05:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:20


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item