Exploring Theory of Mind: Impact of Social Context on Movie Enjoyment - Free Essay Example

Published: 2024-01-17
Exploring Theory of Mind: Impact of Social Context on Movie Enjoyment - Free Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Company Sociology Emotional intelligence
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1511 words
13 min read


The Theory of Mind is an essential social cognitive skill that concerns the capacity to think about the mental states of one and others. It deals with the emotions, desires, knowledge, and beliefs of individuals (Rakoczy, 2014). The TOM refers to one's ability to comprehend that the beliefs and abilities of others might be different and the factors leading to those differences. The theory enables one to predict and explain the actions and behaviors of others and posit their intentions (Alvi et al., 2020). Having the capability to point the mental states to others and understand what makes others behave the way they do. The mind will be conceived as a generator of representations. Human beings tend to have synchronized thoughts and emotions when they are together in a group because they share a collective consciousness. When people are together watching an award-winning movie, they behave as if they have similar subconscious scripts. However, when they watch the movies individually, the experiences are not the same (Black & Barnes, 3015). The mind merges into a similar way of enthusiasm and thinking. Therefore, it is the relative anonymity of the masses that helps in generating collective emotions. As people identify with characters in movies, their bodies stimulate thoughts and emotions, which are then complemented by physiological changes such as the galvanic responses of the skin, which indicates that the person has been aroused emotionally (Alvi et al., 2020).

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Watching Movies Individually Versus in a Group and Its Impact on Tom

Using the Theory of The Mind (TOM) this study will investigate whether t the audience’s presence in a movie theater affects the above psychological processing, thus leading to group enjoyment. This study will be conducted in an areal movie theater in Los Angeles. The participants will be observed twice a week as they watch an award-winning movie that elicits fear, excitement, tenderness, and amusement. They were observed when watching alone and when in a group. The investigations whether the vagal modulation in response to the presence of other influences, and other implicit markers such as the heart rate, and the emotional processes in the function of collective and solitary enjoyment of the movies (Black & Barnes, 2015). Primary Research Question The following were the primary research questions for this study: What impact does the theory of the mind have on fiction movies when watched alone and in groups? The hypothesis of this investigation states that individuals differ in how they diverge their vagal responses just by the mere presence of other people. The modulation regarding the response to social conditions also affects how individuals engage in another context that is complex, such as the enjoyment of a movie in a movie hall (Black & Barnes, 2015). Method Participants The audience of this study comprised 50 participants, 25 male and 25 female aged between 18 and 36 years. The total sample size was more than the minimum required for the population under study. All the eligible participants did not have any history of cardiac or neurological ailments. Additionally, they were not heavy smokers, nor were they addicted to alcohol. They were not under any medications except for oral contraceptives, and they were asked to refrain from taking caffeine on the days of the study (Bosacki et al., 2019). All the participants were between the ages of 18 and 40, and they were ardent viewers of fictional movies. This age bracket is important because this is the period in one's life when one spends significant time watching movies. The participants provided written consent to participate in the investigations. All the subjects of this study were recruited through English-speaking teaching institutions and community websites. The participants were from different geographical locations, therefore, the sample size was representative (Lam, 2019). The research was approved by the ethics committee of the university, and it was in line with the international standards on how studies need to be conducted. Procedure The study took place in a cinema called `the 21st Century' located in Los Angeles. The participants were invited to participate in a physiological experiment of fictional movie perception while they were seated individually in a movie theater and when they were seated in groups. The order of the movie sessions was counterbalanced across all the research participants. The social condition comprised three unfamiliar students who were undertaking psychology courses and had undergone training on how to pretend that they were study subjects taking part in a study (Lam, 2019). The gender ratio of the subjects was balanced, but in total there, were four students, two male, and two female, who were pretending to confederate so that their identities in the group were not revealed in the course of the research (Rakoczy, 2014). When they arrived, an experimenter, who was trained, told the participants about the research, scope, and psychophysical methods to be used. The study subjects were informed that during the research, they were expected to switch off their phones and interact as little as possible (Lam, 2019). The aim of giving such instructions was to ensure that ideal social conditions for the experiment t were created. While they were still seated in the movie theater, they were given the consent forms to fill out. The forms were meant for the first session of the investigation only. They also filled out a form about their demographic information. After that, they were accompanied by the study researchers into the movie hall, and they were then connected to the device to record any physiological changes in their bodies. In the hall, the study participant was seated in the middle with one confederate of the same sex on the right while other confederates of other genders sat to the left. They were then told that they would watch different fictional short movies and then answer questions on their laptops after the watching session (Leipold et al., 2013). The subjects of the study were shown how to answer the questions using press keys and touchpads on their laptops, which they were expected to place on their laptops. To create a window for recording physiological changes and data analysis, the participants were instructed to reduce movements in the course of watching the movies (Leipold et al., 2013). The protocol of the experiment began when the lights were switched off, although there was a baseline of two minutes, the period through which the movie screen fixation cross took place. After that, the movies were shown randomly. At the end of each scene, the study subjects responded to the questions on their laptops. The main manipulation of this study is the social context to ensure that that the best conditions for the experiment were sea (Lam, 2019). The following were the question prompts that the participants were expected to respond to:

  • How much empathy did you feel with particular characters in the movie?
  • The emotions they felt as they watched the movies such as tenderness, fear, and anger.
  • How strongly they felt the emotions they mentioned in number 3 above (Rakoczy,2014)
  • The extent to which they shared a true or false belief (The incorrect or correct theory of mind)
  • Whether they were able to recall any non-social part of the movie.

If they had seen the movie initially (for the TOM the subjects answered one incorrect and one incorrect prompt) (Bosacki et al., 2019). At the end of the study, all the experiment subjects were detached from the device, recording their physiological changes, and brought back to the movie lobby. Then clips of movies that were two minutes each that were used for the experiment were meant to elicit excitement, anger, tenderness, and amusement. Findings The study aimed to investigate the impact of an individual and social company when watching movies on the theory of the mind. For this purpose, the study obtained reports about the emotions that were elicited in the subjects of the study and the indirect psychophysiological measures contrasting the social and solitary movie reception in a movie hall (Leipold et al., 2013). Using the physiological recorders, the research found that there was an interesting effect on watching movies in the presence of others. When the participants watched the movies alone the emotional effects on their bodies were high compared to when they watched alone (Bosacki et al., 2019). Therefore, the social conditions in the movie hall had major differential implications for the two groups. The results confirmed the hypothesis of the research that individuals differ in the manner they diverge their vagal responses just by the mere presence of other people. The modulation regarding the response to the social conditions also affects how individuals engage in other contexts that are complex such as the enjoyment of a movie in a movie hall (Leipold et al., 2013). The study, therefore, shows that the presence of others in the social contexts is informative in how vagal regulations happen in the social contexts, People join movie experiences intending to enjoy collectively by attending to the same object (Bosacki et al., 2019). Therefore, the findings of the experiment can hypothesize that individuals who upsurge their vagal modulations because of the presence of others will derive more enjoyment in a movie theater than the ones who do not (Rakoczy, 2014).

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