A Vision of the Viewer

Situating Narration in the Fiction Film in the Context of Theories of Narrative Comprehension

in Projections
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  • 1 Northern Illinois University jmagliano@niu.edu
  • 2 Northern Illinois University
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Abstract

Contemporary theories of narrative comprehension assume that people build mental models for narrative experiences that are structured around situational relationships such as time, space, and causality. The dominance of this perspective in cognitive psychology arguably emerged in the mid-1990s. Bordwell’s Narration in the Fiction Film is remarkable in how well it dovetails with contemporary theory and the fact that it was written at least ten years before this theoretical perspective became dominant in the psychological literature on narrative comprehension. In this paper, we discuss the relationship and influence of Bordwell’s masterpiece of research focusing on the comprehension of narrative film.

Contributor Notes

Joseph P. Magliano, PhD, is a Presidential Research Professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University. He is a cognitive scientist whose research focuses on narrative comprehension in the context of text- and visually-based narratives. His research on film comprehension focuses on how cinematic features shape comprehension processes. He also studies what it means to be college and career ready to comprehend media and how struggling comprehenders can become more successful. He has over 90 publications in scholarly journals and books on these topics.

James A. Clinton is a postdoctoral scholar at Northern Illinois University, where he recently received his PhD in Cognitive and Instructional Psychology under the mentorship of Joseph Magliano. He is a cognitive scientist with research interests in film and graphic narrative comprehension, but also has interests in the areas of visual perception, social cognition, and neuroscience. He is particularly drawn to how visual perception contributes to the understanding of both film and graphic narratives.

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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