Brain Science and Film Theory: Reassessing the Place of Cognitive Discontinuity in Cinema

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  • 1 University of Surrey m.poulaki@surrey.ac.uk
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The connection between film elements and brain responses has been suggested by a number of neurocognitive studies. The studies of event segmentation, in particular, support that film editing conditions cognitive responses. After discussing the findings of these studies, this article draws on Münsterberg and Arnheim's classical cognitive approaches to film as well as on poststructuralist film theory to argue that the event segmentation approach still falls short of accounting for the impact of noncontinuous film stimuli on the brain's event segmentation, while it shares with other neurocognitive film research the tendency to naturalize narrative and continuity editing. Finally, the article points out that by approaching the findings of event segmentation studies from the perspective of complex systems neuroscience, new hypotheses can be drawn on how noncontinuous and complex film stimuli condition our brains by mediating (enabling or disrupting) event segmentation and cognitive patterning.