James E. Cutting (S. L. Sage Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Cornell) has made an outsize contribution to the Society for the Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image. Since he first attended the society's yearly conference in 2010 to give the keynote address, titled “Attention, Intensity, and the Evolution of Hollywood Film,” Cutting has presented at every SCSMI conference, often in collaboration with his students, and he was elected a Fellow of SCSMI in 2013. Some of his numerous articles on film have been published in Projections, and his work has become highly influential on our membership. In its integration of film aesthetics and psychology, Cutting's work exemplifies the “consilience” that the founders of SCSMI hoped would occur in bringing together humanistic film scholars and psychologists.
Cutting has now synthesized and summarized his research on cinema in a new book, Movies on Our Minds: The Evolution of Cinematic Engagement (Oxford University Press, 2021), which David Bordwell has rightly called “the most nuanced and comprehensive book on the psychology of film we have yet had.” The articles that follow, with the exception of Maria Belodubrovskaya's, were originally presented at an author-meets-critics plenary session devoted to Cutting's book at the Society for the Cognitive Study of the Moving Image's yearly conference in Gandia, Spain, in June 2022. I thank Joe Magliano and Tim Smith for agreeing to participate in the plenary session; the conference hosts, particularly Héctor Pérez, for helping to organize it; Ted Nannicelli, the editor of Projections, for facilitating its publication; and Maria Belodubrovskaya, for contributing to the published version of the session. Most of all, I thank James for his willingness to participate in the panel and for his response to our articles.