Emotional Responses of Finnish and Spanish Audiences to Culturally Loaded Films

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Jose Cañas-Bajo Project Researcher, Aalto University, Finland jose.canasbajo@aalto.fi

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Johanna Silvennoinen Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä, Finland johanna.silvennoinen@jyu.fi

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Pertti Saariluoma Professor, University of Jyväskylä, Finland pertti.saariluoma@jyu.fi

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Abstract

The success of a film depends not only on the quality of individual elements in the film but also on cultural factors that may influence the viewers’ reactions. In this study, we investigated the role of these factors by presenting Spanish and Finnish participants films produced in Finland, Spain, or the United States. Emotional reactions were assessed online through a response system synchronized with the films and offline through questionnaires. Results indicated that overall emotional reactions of the two audiences were very similar, suggesting a high degree of universality. However, we also found differences in the way the two audiences reacted to some specific sequences within the films. Qualitative analyses suggested that these differences are related to some cultural dimensions (e.g., collectivism). We interpret the data as supporting both universality and cultural mediation where cultural variation might be more evident in films varying in narrative structure, genre, or cultural origin.

Contributor Notes

Jose Cañas-Bajo is a Project Researcher at Aalto University. He graduated with a degree in Audiovisual Communication at the University of Malaga and specialized in scriptwriting at Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya and the University of Barcelona, Spain. He recently obtained his doctoral degree at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. His research focuses on viewers’ emotional experiences with audiovisual products in different cultures. Currently, he is participating with the Menestys research group (Aalto University) in a project on cross-cultural factors of full-scripted film experiences from an appraisal theory of interest perspective. He aims to identify the factors and the properties that make a feature film successful in different cultural contexts. Email: jose.canasbajo@aalto.fi

Johanna Silvennoinen is a Postdoctoral Researcher of Cognitive Science at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research focuses on cognitive and affective processes in human-artifact interaction. The goal of her research is to increase predictability of experiential outcomes in terms of sense making, cognitive information processing fluency, and mental information contents in human-artifact interaction. Her research interests also include the role of different sensory modalities in experiencing artifacts, psychology of aesthetics, method development in experience research, and philosophy of design. Email: johanna.silvennoinen@jyu.fi

Pertti Saariluoma is a Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He wrote his thesis about experts’ thinking (1984) at the University of Turku, Finland. He has studied and worked in University of Oxford, England, University of Cambridge, England, Carnegie-Mellon University, United States, and IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis). Email: pertti.saariluoma@jyu.fi

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