Research Paper Sample on Neuroscience and Cinema: Cinema, Cognition, and Art

Published: 2022-08-23
Research Paper Sample on Neuroscience and Cinema: Cinema, Cognition, and Art
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Science Arts Movie
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1639 words
14 min read

Over the last decades, scientists and movie experts have made numerous discoveries on cognitive neuroscience and its permeation into social sciences and humanities, and specifically Neurofilmology, psychocinematics and Neurocinematics. The discovery has ensued dialogue on the development of neuroscience and audio-visual studies over the last two decades, evoking perceptions that the visual-mind concept ought to be conducted in a consistent, epistemological and common framework. Therefore the findings of this research paper will illustrate that neuroscience and audio-visual studies though primarily inapplicable in practice can form the basis for interdisciplinary studies on film theory and cognitive approach in the analysis of visual arts and cinematographic discourse (D'Aloia & Eugeni, 2015).

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The neuroscience of film, which primarily constitutes the concept of Neurocinematics, assesses the effect or impact of a given film on the activity of a viewer's brain. Studies employ the use of Functional Magnetic resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Inter-subject Correlation Analysis (ISC) to assess real-time similarities in the spatiotemporal responses of the brains of viewers during free movie-viewing exercises. Through the methods, research studies reiterate that there is a relationship between unrelated disciplines (cinema, cognitive and art) which pave the way for the study of neurocinematic concepts instead regarded as neuroscience and film studies. Neuroscience and cinema present perspective points that analyze the brain of a viewer during a cinematic encounter and the interpretation or post-event reconstruction of the experience (Hasson et al., 2008). The task of a film analyst entails describing the mental architecture of a viewer's brain that, through emotional, cognitive and perceptual mechanisms remain active following an artistic, cinema experience (Wiertelak, 2002).

Audiovisual Theory and Neuroscience studies

D'Aloia & Eugeni (2015), in their submissions, assert that the relationship between neurological sciences and audiovisual theory involve the centrality of attention, simulation as well as the cognitive emotions of movie viewers. Film scholars argue that through psychocinematics studies, the biological and psychological characteristics of film watchers are strictly engraved in functional links between sensorimotor activation and visuomotor neurons. Together, these factors have established fundamental principles underlying neuroscientific findings which help film scholars to comprehend the architecture of the human brain and subsequently, the functioning of the mind's neural correlates. Embodied simulation allows the perception and unity of action to work in perfect harmony through body-mind relations of visuomotor phenomena such as intersubjectivity, aesthetic response, affect, empathy and human consciousness. In essence, the dialogue on the relationship between audio-visual theory and neuroscience studies involves naturalization of movie viewing situations as a result of anti-culturalist trends that unify phenomenological and cognitivist perspectives, as much as the theoretical premises of neuroscience are well implied in empirical study methods. Contemporary neuroscientists conduct neuroimaging surveys and tests on film viewers through neuroimaging methods with the sole objective of outlining neurocinematic encounters as they watch (Holmes, 2017).

Indisputably, cinema takes most viewers through encounters that evolve, imprisoning their cognitive attention while triggering sequences of emotional, cognitive and perceptual processes. Over the years, film producers have directed their focus into developing a battery of cinematic devices such as close-up, montage and continuity to direct the minds of their viewers during film watching. Arguably, the devices are meant to influence the response of the viewers to the film, but much success can only be attributed to recent non-invasive, empirical, neuroimaging methods that measure and record the viewer's brain while watching a film. Movies engage the viewer's brain through camera movements, staging, acting, sound and editing techniques that are purposely staged to enhance one's feelings, sensations and thoughts. The movie experience, commonly referred to as psychocinematics entails discoveries on how moving camera pictorials drive the mental process of a movie viewer when used as a source of stimuli. Psychocinematics prove the correlational fundamentals between cinema, cognitive and art by connecting the experience of watching movies to the brains and minds of the movie watchers.

Modern films, as will be shown herein, employ neurocinematics through altering of people's minds and memories through hypnosis and brainwashing as scientists now assert that neuroscience and its related technologies lead to knowledge and power. In essence, movies exert control over the brain activity of watchers through neuro functionalities of conceptual film content, editing instructions as well as perceptual patterns. In this regard, viewers reconstruct their memories from cultural and personal knowledge to the immediate movie experience, acquiring novel ways of encountering or facing real-life experiences (Wiertelak, 2002).

Neuroscience and Contemporary Movies: The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate is a thriller acted in 1952 and involved the son of a political family who was kidnapped along with his platoon in the wake of the Korean War. The candidate (Raymond Shaw) was brainwashed and his brain programmed to be an assassin who kills people without prior knowledge of what is happening around him. The movie is somewhat cynical as its driving force and the psychology underlying its plot is both fascinating and unsettling. The course of the movie is characterized by buddies who seemingly realize that the candidate is abnormal as his mind was fixated on mysteries of memory with the significant focus on the state of his mind upon manipulation. The evil-doers deliberately alter American memories programming them to kill on command some years later. While the original film programmed war veterans through hypnosis and mind-control tools of corruption, the remake involved tapping emerging brain science by rogue scientists to control the minds of Denzel Washington and their audiences.

In the 1960s, mind-control and brainwashing were seen as futuristic as in the Manchurian Candidate where film and television were employed in portraying the evolving imagery in neurocinematics through incredible scientific processes. As observed by Shimamura (2013), the film and its audiovisual aspects are clear precision tools that are being employed by Hollywood to condition and coerce viewers who are hypnotically subjected to mind-control. The careful interweaving of the movie exhibits psychocinematics and neuroscience through the popular imagery prevalent in mind control, multiple scientific discourses that make the human brain susceptible to mind-control, and the interconnectedness between psychoanalytic interpretations, hypnosis, and cinema. As happens to Denzel Washington's mind and character, scientists believe that the relationship between audiovisual theory and neuroscience presents opportunities for the suppression of memory and influence of human brain, in a far-leap step towards acquiring the ability to replace horrific war memories with false memories that glorify fellow soldiers. It is in this context that media and film scholars reiterate that neuroscience and related mind-control technologies not only lead to power but also knowledge through possible memory suppression and enhancement. The Manchurian Candidate can be considered a turning point in the brainwashing history and screen imagery because of the manner in which it is willfully presented and the fear it evokes amongst the Americans on what really happened back in the Korean War. The movie features series that increasingly incorporate fantastical mind-control methods into their plot through a depiction of futuristic technologies and techniques.

The interaction between Cinema, Cognition, and Art

Neuroscientists have recorded instances of interaction between mind control, audiovisual media apparatus and mind sciences in the wake of cybernetics and neuroscience in respect to favorite fantasies on brainwashing. Hypnotic brainwashing and mind-control appear surprisingly in major spy-themed films and movie productions with most of the films being created under Anglo-American production teams. Although James Bond didn't fall victim to brainwashing films on screen, his actions are viewed by most film scholars as doctored purposely to program the mind of his viewers into futuristic technologies such as the "driverless car" which is actually in play in modern technology. The movie that are aligned with the James Bond paradigm of mind control such as The saint (1962-1969), Man in a Suitcase (1967-1968) and Avengers (1962-1969) employs a perfect spy fare, with brainwashing being employed in all aspects of espionage fiction (Shimamura, 2013). Cinema and psychoanalysis were born in the wake of science fiction movies. No matter how much psychoanalysis seems far-drifted from neuroscience, film theorists and plots will always sustain ideas that are informed by the emerging relationship between cinema, cognition, and art. Psychocinematics manifests itself in several movies through flashbacks that are essential in movie noir storytelling with psychoanalysis forming the basis for neuroscience and repressive memories. Most of the artistic aesthetics and visuals that are currently being associated with mind control during the cold war can be dated back to brainwashing imagery with the movie and filmmaking mainstream media. In neuroscience, the victim of mind control can be taken through the art of psychoactive drugs, sonic rays that are meant to create a particular, pre-intended picture in the mind of the viewer. Many films, therefore, depict or picture hypnosis on screen through close-ups of the eyes of the hypnotist and his puppet-like master hands, hence capturing the film tradition of hypnotic control identification with charismatic individuals (Holmes, 2017).

Drawing from the arguments drawn herein, the contemporary outlines landscaping the dialogue on neurosciences, art and cinema from a neurocinematic approach promotes naturalistic accounts of phenomenal series shifting the paradigm from movie styles to movie genre systems which were previously explained and considered by culturalist tools. In that regard, the phenomenon on audiovisual theory and neurosciences ensues to a twofold antinomy where on the one hand, film scholars are torn between the models of viewer-as-mind versus viewer-as-body and on the other hand, the apparent contrast between culturalist-oriented vision and naturalistic-oriented vision in the movie viewing situations. Through cinematic, cognitive and artistic experiences, the viewers' brains are subjected to powerful emotions, where they perceive both documentary and fictional worlds, experience powerful and immersive emotions, understand concepts behind stories as they learn life-long lessons. Because of film scholars, Alan Burton suggests that the contemporary diversification of imagery and artistic brainwashing in cinematics can be rooted to the advances in modern technology and scientific knowledge on what makes the human brain susceptible to coercion and influence. This information is often drawn from the contemporary era of neuropsychological research which is usually conducted on sensory deprivation.

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