Goldilocks Aesthetics

in Projections
View More View Less
  • 1 Cornell University, USA james.cutting@cornell.edu
Restricted access

Abstract

Much of aesthetics is based in psychological responses. Yet seldom have such responses—couched in empirically based psychological terms—played a central role in the discussion of movie aesthetics. Happily, Todd Berliner's Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema does just that. This commentary discusses some history and some twists and turns behind Berliner's analysis.

Contributor Notes

James E. Cutting is Susan Linn Sage Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. His newest book is Movies and Mind (in press, Oxford). He has also published over 150 scholarly articles on perception, motion, space, and related topics. His interest in the relationships among visual perception, culture, and the popular arts led him to the study of movies. Email: james.cutting@cornell.edu

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

  • Anand, Punam, and Morris B. Holbrook. 1986. “Chasing the Wundt Curve: An Adventure in Consumer Esthetics.” In Advances in Consumer Research Vol. 13, ed. Richard J. Lutz, 655657. Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berliner, Todd. 2017. Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema. New York: Oxford Press.

  • Berlyne, Daniel E. 1960. Conflict, Arousal and Curiosity. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  • Berlyne, Daniel E. 1967. “Arousal and Reinforcement.” In Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Vol. 15, ed. David Levine, 1110. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berlyne, Daniel E. 1970. “Novelty, Complexity, and Hedonic Value.” Perception and Psychophysics 8 (5): 279286. doi:10.3758/BF03212593.

  • Berlyne, Daniel E. 1971. Aesthetics and Psychobiology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

  • Birkhoff, George D. 1933. Aesthetic Measure. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Blijlevens, Janneke, Claus-Christian Carbon, Ruth Mugge, and Jan P. L. Schoormans. 2012. “Aesthetic Appraisal of Product Designs: Independent Effects of Typicality and Arousal.” British Journal of Psychology 103 (1): 4457. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02038.x.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chmiel, Anthony, and Emily Schubert. 2017. “Back to the Inverted-U for Music Preference: A Review of the Literature.” Psychology of Music 45 (6): 886909. doi:10.1177/03057356176 97507.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cupchik, Gerald C. 1986. “A Decade after Berlyne: New Directions in Experimental Aesthetics.Poetics 15 (4–6): 345369. doi:10.1016/0304-422X(86)90003-3.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cutting, James E. 2019. “Simplicity, Complexity, and Narration in Popular Movies.” In Narrative Complexity: Cognition, Embodiment, Evolution, ed. Marina Grishakova and Maria Poulaki, 200222. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cutting, James E., Jordan DeLong, and Kaitlin Brunick. 2018. “Temporal Fractals in Movies and Mind.” Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications 3 (8): 121. doi:10.1186/s41235-018-0091-x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Galanter, Philip. 2012. “Computational Aesthetic Evaluation: Past and Future.” In Computers and Creativity, ed. Jon McCormack and Mark d'Inverno. 255293. Berlin: Springer.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gell-Mann, Murray. 1995. “What Is Complexity?Complexity 1 (1): 1619. doi:10.1002/cplx.6130010105.

  • Gravino, Pietro, Bernardo Monechi, and Vittorio Loreto. 2019. “Towards Novelty-Driven Recommender Systems.” Comptes Rendu Physique 20 (4): 371379. doi:10.1016/j.cthy.2019.05.014.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Güçlütürk, Yag˘mur, Richard H. A. H. Jacobs, and Rob van Lier. 2016. “Liking versus Complexity: Decomposing the Inverted-U curve.” Frontiers of Human Neuroscience 10 (112): 111. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00112.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haber, Ralph N. 1958. “Discrepancy from Adaptation Level as a Source of Affect.” Journal of Experimental Psychology 56 (4): 370375. doi:10.1037/h0041761.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hu, Hailan. 2016. “Reward and Aversion.” Annual Review of Neuroscience 39: 297324. doi:10.1146/annurev-neuro-070815-014106.

  • Kaimann, Daniel, Nadja Stroh-Maraun, and Joe Cox. 2018. “Variety in the Video Game Industry: An Empirical Study of the Wundt Curve.” Management Decision Economics 39 (3): 354362. doi:10.1002/mde.2909.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kidd, Celeste, Steven T. Piantadosi, and Richard N. Aslin. 2012. “The Goldilocks Effect: Human Infants Allocate Attention to Visual Sequences That Are Neither Too Simple nor Too Complex.PloS One 7 (5): e36399, 18. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036399.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marin, Manuela M., Allegra Lampatz, Michaela Wandl, and Helmut Leder. 2016. “Berlyne Revisited: Evidence for the Multifaceted Nature of Hedonic Appreciation of Paintings and Music.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10 (536): 120. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00536.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCall, Robert B., and Paul E. McGhee. 1977. “The Discrepancy Hypothesis of Attention and Affect in Infants.” In The Structuring of Experience, ed. Ina Cˇ. Uzˇgiris and Frederic Weizmann, 179210. New York: Plenum.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCormack, Jon, and Mark d'Inverno, eds. 2012. Computers and Creativity. New York: Springer.

  • Solomon, Richard L. 1980. “The Opponent-Process Theory of Acquired Motivation: The Costs of Pleasure and Benefits of Pain.” American Psychologist 35 (8): 691712. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.35.8.691.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Solomon, Richard L., and John D. Corbit. 1974. “An Opponent-Process Theory of Motivation: I. Temporal Dynamics of Affect.” Psychological Review 81 (2): 119145. doi:10.1037/h0036128.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sousa, Alexandre M., Jussara M. Almeida, and Flavio Figueiredo. 2019. “Analyzing and Modeling Curiosity in Online Content Consumption: A LastFM Case Study.IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks, Analysis, and Mining: 426431. doi:10.1145/3341161.3342917.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sreenivasan, Sameet. 2013. “Quantitative Analysis of the Evolution of Novelty in Cinema through Crowdsourced Keywords.” Scientific Reports 3 (2758): 110. doi:10.1038/srep02758.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stökl, Albert. 1887. Handbook of the History of Philosophy. Trans. Thomas A. Finlay. Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son. https://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/hhp.htm.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walker, Edward L. 1981. “The Quest for the Inverted U.” In Advances in Intrinsic Motivation and Aesthetics, ed. Hy I. Day, 3970. New York: Plenum.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wundt, Wilhelm. 1874. Grundzüge der physiologischen psychologie. 1st ed. Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann.

  • Wundt, Wilhelm. 1910. Grundzüge der physiologischen psychologie. 6th ed. Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann.

  • Yerkes, Robert, and John D. Dodson, J. 1908. “The Relation of Strength of Stimulus to Rapidity of Habit Formation.” Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology 18 (5): 459482. doi:10.1002/cne.920180503.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 240 238 21
Full Text Views 76 76 5
PDF Downloads 72 72 3