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Richard Allen

Review of Patrick Colm Hogan, UNDERSTANDING INDIAN MOVIES: CULTURE, COGNITION, AND CINEMATIC IMAGINATION

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Factors in the Development of Spatial Cognition in Boys and Girls

Assessing the Impacts of Biology and Navigational Experience

Mariah G. Schug

Spatial cognition represents one of the best-established sex differences in cognitive science. There is a pervasive tendency for males to outperform females on multiple spatial reasoning tasks. While prenatal hormones may provide a foundation for these differences, childhood experience also plays an important role. This current article examines how biological factors may interact with environmental and cultural factors. Of particular interest is the cross-cultural literature in which children’s naturalistic experiences exploring their environments can be linked to the development of spatial skills. Based on the examined research, children who gain more navigational experience tend to perform better on spatial tasks. Because boys typically have greater opportunities to explore and navigate, this difference in experience may contribute to the observed sex differences in spatial performance.

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Karin Luisa Badt

Neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp's theory of SEEKING offers a fundamental insight into why film spectators are engaged by what they see on screen. This article offers a new reading of Panksepp's SEEKING theory and how it applies to spectatorship, a reading informed by two months of the author's personal exchange with the scientist. The article states that the SEEKING impulse—defined as the emotional instinct to seek resources—applies not only to how the spectator identifies with the main character and his search for resources, but to how the spectator responds to visual and aural cues regardless of the story or characters. The article provides a corrective to spectator theories which focus too narrowly on narrative as a cue for viewer mental activity. An examination of two scenes from The Bicycle Thief and Stalker shows how SEEKING can occur on both the primary and tertiary level, thus breaking the emotion-cognition divide.

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Karen Pearlman

This article proposes that inquiry into the cognitive complexity of film editing processes could provide insight into how edits affect audiences beyond convincing them of temporal and spatial continuity. Application of two influential theories in cognitive studies of the moving image to this inquiry suggests that editors make some decisions to maximize the smooth transference of their own attention and some in response to their own embodied simulation. However, edited sequences that do not conform precisely to the principles of maximum attentional efficiency or that significantly reshape the cinematographer’s “kinematics” (Gallese and Guerra 2012) reveal other cognitive expertise at work. Sequences generated by editors’ feeling for rhythmic phrases of movement, tension, and release create unique expressive forms in film. They require artistry of a higher order, rather than following the relatively straightforward rules of continuity cutting, and may have distinctive affective or cognitive impact on audiences.

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Dan Flory

This article argues that cognitive film theory has largely overlooked the phenomenon of disgust insofar as it can be racialized, but could be developed to account for it. Critical race theory, especially in its analytic mode, has similarly failed to offer an account of racialized disgust, although some thinkers in the phenomenological tradition have analyzed related phenomena. The article proposes to reconcile these three research areas by drawing on recent work concerning disgust and arguing for its relevance to viewers’ reactions to depictions of race in film, thereby developing an improved set of diagnostic tools for the analysis of cinematic spectatorship. The method used is analytic philosophy of film. The analysis reveals that many viewers embody their sense of race through disgust reactions and that these reactions constitute crucial components regarding how they perceive and understand narrative characters in film.

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Jason Gendler

This article is an attempt to answer the question: Where does a classical narrative beginning end? It examines a series of epistemological concerns about the nature of beginnings before exploring two previous models that can be used to determine where a narrative beginning ends, one by Kristin Thompson that relies primarily on a narrative's formal properties, and one by James Phelan that relies primarily on cognitive processes. The article focuses primarily on the possibilities for a cognitive model for determining the end of a narrative beginning. However, ultimately, it argues that only by combining formal properties and cognitive processes can we arrive at a comprehensive and flexible model for how to determine where a classical narrative beginning ends.

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Eric S. Rabkin

Frankenstein and Dracula represent two different genres in print but only one in film. The emergence of science fiction from the Gothic exemplifies normal public genre development. The translation of the written Frankenstein and Dracula into film exemplifies genre development as an adaptation both to historical moment and to medium. In both the print and film cases, we can see the same mechanisms by which a genre is not only established in the public sphere but in the mind of a reader or viewer, a dialectic process in which the genre forms and informs reading and viewing and potentially, as a genre, is reformed by reading and viewing. Consideration of cognitive mechanisms involved in verbal and visual cognition shows both the interaction and the typical dominance of the visual, although genre, and hence individual works, can be modified by increasing our focus on the verbal.

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Tim J. Smith

The intention of most film editing is to create the impression of continuity by editing together discontinuous viewpoints. The continuity editing rules are well established yet there exists an incomplete understanding of their cognitive foundations. This article presents the Attentional Theory of Cinematic Continuity (AToCC), which identifies the critical role visual attention plays in the perception of continuity across cuts and demonstrates how perceptual expectations can be matched across cuts without the need for a coherent representation of the depicted space. The theory explains several key elements of the continuity editing style including match-action, matchedexit/entrances, shot/reverse-shot, the 180° rule, and point-of-view editing. AToCC formalizes insights about viewer cognition that have been latent in the filmmaking community for nearly a century and demonstrates how much vision science in general can learn from film.

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Brian Boyd

David Bordwell’s Narration in the Fiction Film is a uniquely valuable overview of narration in one medium, lucid, rigorous, rational, broadly comprehensive and finely detailed, and unequalled in any other narrative medium. But Bordwell proposes that the cognitive activity of the viewer of a fiction film is to construct the story from the film. While true, and brilliantly analyzed by Bordwell, this omits an important part of our cognitive activity: our engagement with the “author” or filmmaker, an essential part of our engagement with any fiction (or for that matter non-fiction), a response not confined to films by auteurs or to high literary fiction. Our compulsion and capacity to engage with characters, actors, and filmmakers reflects our sophisticated cognition, including our ability to respond to multiple levels of intentionality and our swift emotional attunement.

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Social Quality in China

An Analysis of the Evaluation of Different Classes

Cui Yan and Huang Yongliang

Since the end of the 1990s, when European scholars put forward the social quality theory, related research has been recently and increasingly carried out in China. At present, Chinese society has entered a new stage of development, and the main demands of the population have gradually changed. For theoretical and practical reasons, it is highly attractive to strengthen the research on the social quality of China in order to meet new public demands and expectations and to promote the improvement of social quality through the implementation of effective politics and policies. Based on empirical data, this article comprehensively analyzes the cognition of different layers of China’s population and the change of the four conditional factors of social quality on the overall development of society.