Revisiting the Kuleshov Effect with First-Time Viewers

in Projections
View More View Less
  • 1 University of London ildirarsermin@gmail.com
  • 2 University of East Anglia l.ewing@uea.ac.uk
Restricted access

Abstract

Researchers have recently suggested that historically mixed findings in studies of the Kuleshov effect (a classic film editing–related phenomenon whereby meaning is extracted from the interaction of sequential camera shots) might reflect differences in the relative sophistication of early versus modern cinema audiences. Relative to experienced audiences, first-time film viewers might be less predisposed and/or able to forge the required conceptual and perceptual links between the edited shots in order to demonstrate the effect. This article recreates the conditions that traditionally elicit this effect (whereby a neutral face comes to be perceived as expressive after being juxtaposed with independent images: a bowl of soup, a gravestone, a child playing) to directly compare “continuity” perception in first-time and more experienced film viewers. Results confirm the presence of the Kuleshov effect for experienced viewers (explicitly only in the sadness condition) but not the first-time viewers, who failed to perceive continuity between the shots.

Contributor Notes

Sermin Ildirar is a Marie S. Curie postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London. She studied film and media studies at Istanbul University and the University of Vienna, and she has worked at the Knowledge Media Research Center in Tübingen, Germany. She is currently investigating the role of cinematic features on the cognitive processes of both adult and infant viewers. She has articles published in Psychological Science and the British Journal of Psychology. She is also the director of several short movies and co-scriptwriter of a feature movie and a computer game. E-mail: ildirarsermin@gmail.com

Louise Ewing is a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She studied psychology at the University of Western Australia. Her research focuses on face and person perception. She has articles published in Perception, Vision Research, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology. E-mail: l.ewing@uea.ac.uk

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

  • Anderson, Joseph D. 1998. The Reality of Illusion: An Ecological Approach to Cognitive Film Theory. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Aviezer, Hillel, Ran R. Hassin, Jennifer Ryan, Cheryl Grady, Josh Susskind, Adam Anderson, Morris Moscovitch, and Shlomo Bentin. 2008. “Angry, Disgusted, or Afraid? Studies on the Malleability of Emotion Perception.” Psychological Science 19 (7): 724732.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barratt, Daniel, Anna Cabak Rédei, Åse Innes-Ker, and Joost Van de Weijer. 2016. “Does the Kuleshov Effect Really Exist? Revisiting a Classic Film Experiment on Facial Expressions and Emotional Contexts.” Perception 45 (8): 847874.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barrett, Lisa Feldman, Batja Mesquita, and Maria Gendron. 2011. “Context in Emotion Perception.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 20 (5): 286290.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berman, Ruth A. 1988. “On the Ability to Relate Events in Narrative.” Discourse Processes 11 (4): 469497.

  • Bill, Valentine T. 1987. Chekhov: The Silent Voice of Freedom. New York: Allied Books.

  • Bordwell, David, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson. 1985. The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Flm Style and Mode of Production to 1960. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bordwell, David, Kristin Thompson, and Jeremy Ashton. 2004. Film Art: An Introduction. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  • Butterworth, George, and Nicholas Jarrett. 1991. “What Minds Have in Common Is Space: Spatial Mechanisms Serving Joint Visual Attention in Infancy.” British Journal of Developmental Psychology 9 (1): 5572.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carroll, James M., and James A. Russell. 1996. “Do Facial Expressions Signal Specific Emotions? Judging Emotion from the Face in Context.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 70 (2): 205218.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carroll, Noël. 1993. “Toward a Theory of Point-of-View Editing: Communication, Emotion, and the Movies.” Poetics Today 14 (1): 123141.

  • Corkum, Valerie, and Chris Moore. 1998. “The Origins of Joint Visual Attention in Infants.” Developmental Psychology 34 (1): 2838.

  • Cutting, James E. 2005. “Perceiving Scenes in Film and in the World.” In Moving Image Theory: Ecological Considerations, ed. Joseph D. Anderson and Barbara Fisher Anderson, 927. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D’Entremont, Barbara, Sylvia M. J. Hains, and Darwin W. Muir. 1997. “A Demonstration of Gaze Following in 3-to 6-Month-Olds.” Infant Behavior and Development 20 (4): 569572.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Forsdale, Joan Rosengren, and Louis Forsdale. 1966. “Film Literacy.” Journal of the University Film Producers Association 18 (3): 927.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • de Gelder, Beatrice, Hanneke K. M. Meeren, Ruthger Righart, Jan Van den Stock, Wim A. C. Van de Riet, and Marco Tamietto. 2006. “Beyond the Face: Exploring Rapid Influences of Context on Face Processing.” Progress in Brain Research 155: 3748.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gibson, James J. 2014. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception: Classic Edition. New York: Psychology Press.

  • Goldberg, Herman D. 1951. “The Role of ‘Cutting’ in the Perception of the Motion Picture.” Journal of Applied Psychology 35 (1): 7071.

  • Hemsley, Gordon D., and Anthony N. Doob. 1978. “The Effect of Looking Behavior on Perceptions of a Communicator’s Credibility.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 8 (2): 136142.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hobbs, Renee, Richard Frost, Arthur Davis, and John Stauffer. 1988. “How First-Time Viewers Comprehend Editing Conventions.” Journal of Communication 38 (4): 5060.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holland, Norman N. 1989. “Film Response from Eye to I: The Kuleshov Experiment.” South Atlantic Quarterly 88 (2): 415442.

  • Ildirar, Sermin, Daniel T. Levin, Stephan Schwan, and Tim J. Smith. 2017. “Audio Facilitates the Perception of Cinematic Continuity by First-Time Viewers.” Perception 47 (3): 276295. doi:10.1177/0301006617745782.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ildirar, Sermin, and Stephan Schwan. 2015. “First-Time Viewers’ Comprehension of Films: Bridging Shot Transitions.” British Journal of Psychology 106 (1): 133151.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Isenhour, John Preston. 1975. “The Effects of Context and Order in Film Editing.” AV Communication Review 23 (1): 6980.

  • Kuleshov, Lev Vladimirovich. 1974. Kuleshov on Film: Writings. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Levaco, Ronald. 1974. “Eikhenbaum, Inner Speech and Film Stylistics.” Screen 15 (4): 4758.

  • Lindgren, Ernest. 1948. The Art of the Film. London: George Allen & Unwin.

  • Lobmaier, Janek S., Martin H. Fischer, and Adrian Schwaninger. 2006. “Objects Capture Perceived Gaze Direction.” Experimental Psychology 53 (2): 117122.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Masuda, Takahiko, Phoebe C. Ellsworth, Batja Mesquita, Janxin Leu, Shigehito Tanida, and Ellen Van de Veerdonk. 2008. “Placing the Face in Context: Cultural Differences in the Perception of Facial Emotion.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 94 (3): 365381.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Messaris, Paul. 1994. Visual “Literacy”: Image, Mind, and Reality. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

  • Mobbs, Dean, Nikolaus Weiskopf, Hakwan C. Lau, Eric Featherstone, Ray J. Dolan, and Chris D. Frith. 2006. “The Kuleshov Effect: The Influence of Contextual Framing on Emotional Attributions.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 1 (2): 95106.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Moore, Chris, and Phil Dunham. 2014. Joint Attention: Its Origins and Role in Development. New York: Psychology Press.

  • Moors, Agnes, Phoebe C. Ellsworth, Klaus R. Scherer, and Nico H. Frijda. 2013. “Appraisal Theories of Emotion: State of the Art and Future Development.” Emotion Review 5 (2): 119124.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Münsterberg, Hugo. 2013. Hugo Munsterberg on Film: The Photoplay—A Psychological Study and Other Writings. London: Routledge.

  • Nelson, Nicole L., and James A. Russell. 2013. “Universality Revisited.” Emotion Review 5 (1): 815.

  • Pearson, Roberta, and Philip Simpson, eds. 2005. Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory. London: Routledge.

  • Perrett, David Ian, Jari K. Hietanen, Michael W. Oram, Philip J. Benson, and E. T. Rolls. 1992. “Organization and Functions of Cells Responsive to Faces in the Temporal Cortex [and Discussion].” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 335 (1273): 2330.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Persson, Per 2003. Understanding Cinema: A Psychological Theory of Moving Imagery. Cam-bridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Prince, Stephen, and Wayne E. Hensley. 1992. “The Kuleshov Effect: Recreating the Classic Experiment.” Cinema Journal 31 (2): 5975.

  • Pudovkin, Vsevolod Illarionovich. 2013. Film Technique and Film Acting: The Cinema Writings of V. I. Pudovkin. Vancouver: Read Books.

  • Renov, Michael. 2004. The Subject of Documentary. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

  • Righart, Ruthger, and Beatrice de Gelder. 2008. “Recognition of Facial Expressions Is Influenced by Emotional Scene Gist.” Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience 8 (3): 264272.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosenheim, Shawn. 1996. “Interrotroning History: Errol Morris and the Documentary of the Future.” In The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television, and the Modern Event, ed. Vivian Sobchack, 219234. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Russell, James A., and Beverley Fehr. 1987. “Relativity in the Perception of Emotion in Facial Expressions.” Journal of Experimental Psychology 116 (3): 223237.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwan, Stephan, and Ildirar, Sermin. 2010. “Watching Film for the First Time: How Adult Viewers Interpret Perceptual Discontinuities in Film.” Psychological Science 21 (7): 970976.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharff, Stefan. 1997. The Art of Looking in Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Winona, MN: Hal Leonard.

  • Smith, Tim J. 2012. “The Attentional Theory of Cinematic Continuity.” Projections 6 (1): 127.

  • Smith, Tim J., Daniel Levin, and James E. Cutting. 2012. “A Window on Reality Perceiving Edited Moving Images.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 21 (2): 107113.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tomasello, Michael, Ann Cale Kruger, and Hilary Horn Ratner. 1993. “Cultural Learning.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (3): 495511.

  • Truffaut, François. 1984. Hitchcock. Rev. ed. with the collaboration of Helen G. Scott. New York: Simon & Schuster.

  • Vrij, Aldert, Samantha Mann, Sharon Leal, and Ronald Fisher. 2010. “‘Look into My Eyes’: Can an Instruction to Maintain Eye Contact Facilitate Lie Detection?Psychology, Crime and Law 16 (4): 327348.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 198 197 58
Full Text Views 29 29 1
PDF Downloads 33 33 0