Welcome to the first issue of Projections for 2021. After a brief hiatus from printing due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we are once again publishing online and in print. (A reminder to members of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image [SCSMI]: an online subscription to Projections is now the default inclusion for memberships; members who would prefer to receive hard copies can do so by paying a small surcharge.) I would like to thank the team at Berghahn, especially Janine Latham, for their ongoing support. Thanks too are due to associate editors Aaron Taylor and Tim Smith, along with Katalin Bálint who covered for Tim while he was on leave. Finally, I would like to extend special thanks to our referees in 2020 who willing donated their time to support us during what was a very difficult year for everyone. The names of all referees for 2020 are listed below as an acknowledgment of their service.
Due to the global pandemic, the 2020 meeting of the SCSMI occurred virtually, but it was still a resounding success, and the fact that a plenary session interview with filmmaker Paul Schrader was recorded meant that we were able to easily transcribe the interview and print it here as a special feature to this issue.
In addition, we have three articles lined up. The first, by John Hutson and his colleagues, reports the results of an experiment designed to test how suspense is maintained in the opening scene of Touch of Evil (1958). This well-known scene features a long take that begins with a bomb being planted in the trunk of a car and ends with it exploding. The question posed by the authors is, roughly speaking, to what extent do the scene's sound cues play a role in reminding viewers of the bomb and thus sustaining suspense?
Next, Thorbjörn Swenberg and Simon Carlgren discuss the findings of their research on the relationship between musical beats and visual attention in audience reception of music videos. Whereas Hutson and his colleagues focus on how the soundtrack affects aspects of comprehension (e.g., working memory, predictive inference, and so forth), Swenberg and Carlgren investigate how the soundtrack affects aspects of visual attention such as viewers’ eye movements across cuts and pupil size (the latter of which is also, interestingly enough, known to be an indicator of cognitive load).
Our final article for this issue, by Keyvan Sarkhosh and Winfried Menninghaus, addresses a topic that is particularly apt on the heels of 2020: the “feel-good film.” One of the things Sarkhosh and Menninghaus's research shows is, in their words, “from an audience's perspective, feel-good films appear much more complex than their reputation among critics would suggest.” Not only does this genre of film afford substantive emotional benefits, it does so in part by tackling difficult topics. Indeed, the evidence seems to suggest that the emotional uplift created by feel-good films is partly dependent upon an integration of negative feelings in the viewing experience.
Unfortunately, I must close on a more sombre note. The past year was a difficult one for many of us for reasons beyond the global pandemic. I am very sorry to inform readers that Stephen Prince, the President of the SCSMI and previous editor of Projections, passed away in late December. He will be remembered as a generous colleague, prolific scholar, inspiring teacher, and dear friend. SCSMI Board members Carl Plantinga and Malcolm Turvey pay tribute to Steve in this issue.
Thanks to referees during 2020
Margherita Arcangeli, Institut Jean Nicod
Daniel Barratt, Copenhagen Business School
David Brown, University of Kent
Tom Brown, King's College London
Jose Cañas-Bajo, Aalto University
Elisa Caldarola, Università di Padova
Maarten Coëgnarts, Independent Scholar
Antonie Coutrot, University of Nantes
Katherine Dale, Florida State University
Adriano D'Aloia, Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Mario De Caro, Università Roma Tre and Tufts University
Markus Huff, Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien
Nikica Gilić, University of Zagreb
Torben Grodal, University of Copenhagen
Jason Jacobs, University of Queensland
Timothy Justus, Pomona College
Guan-Soon Khoo, Roanoke College
Anna Kolesnikov, University of Parma
András Balínt Kovács, Eötvös Loránd University
Daniel Levin, Vanderbilt University
Krunoslav Lučić, University of Zagreb
Richard Neupert, University of Georgia
Goran Pavlić, University of Zagreb
Karen Pearlman, Macquarie University
Carl Plantinga, Calvin University
Johannes Riis, University of Copenhagen
Brendan Rooney, University College Dublin
Daniela Tagliafico, Università di Torino
Ed Tan, University of Amsterdam
Aaron Taylor, University of Lethbridge
Eleftheria Thanouli, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Hrvoje Turković, University of Zagreb
Malcolm Turvey, Tufts University
Margrethe Bruun Vaage, University of Kent
Adriana Clavel-Vazquez, University of Oxford