Volume 7 Number 2
  • ISSN 2210-4372
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4380
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Filmmakers must rely on cinematic devices of perspective (close-ups and point-of-view shot sequencing) to emphasize facial expressions associated with affective states. This study explored the extent to which differences in the use of these devices across two films that have the same content lead to differences in the understanding of the affective states of characters. Participants viewed one of two versions of the films and made affective judgments about how characters felt about one another with respect to saddness and anger. The extent to which the auditory and visual contexts were present when making the judgments was varied across four experiments. The results of the study showed judgments about sadness differed across the two films, but only when the entire context (sound and visual input) were present. The results are discussed in the context of the role of facial expressions and context in inferring basic emotions.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Baggett, P.
    (1979) Structurally equivalent stories in movie and text and the effect of the medium on recall. Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior, 18(3), 333–356. 10.1016/S0022‑5371(79)90191‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5371(79)90191-9 [Google Scholar]
  2. Batson, C. D., Early, S., & Salvarani, G.
    (1997) Perspective taking: Imagining how another feels versus imagining how you would feel. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 751–751. 10.1177/0146167297237008
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167297237008 [Google Scholar]
  3. Booth, W. C.
    (1961) The rhetoric of fiction. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bordwell, D.
    (1985) Narration in the fiction film. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bordwell, D., & Thompson, K.
    (2016) Film art: An introduction. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Boyd, R. L., & Pennebaker, J. W.
    (2015) Did Shakespeare write double falsehood? Identifying an individual’s mental world with text analysis. Psychological Science. 10.1177/0956797614566658
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614566658 [Google Scholar]
  7. Buck, R.
    (1984) The communication of emotion. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Buhrmester, M., Kwang, T., & Gosling, S. D.
    (2011) Amazon’s Mechanical Turk: A new source of inexpensive, yet high quality, data?Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(1), 3–5. 10.1177/1745691610393980
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691610393980 [Google Scholar]
  9. Carroll, J. M., & Russell, J. A.
    (1996) Do facial expressions signal specific emotions? Judging emotion from the face in context. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 2015–218. 10.1037/0022‑3514.70.2.205
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.70.2.205 [Google Scholar]
  10. (1997) Facial expressions in Hollywood’s Portrayal of Emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 164–176. 10.1037/0022‑3514.72.1.164
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.72.1.164 [Google Scholar]
  11. Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W. R., & Geil, K. E.
    (2013) Research-practice partnerships: A strategy for leveraging research for educational improvement in school districts. Retrieved fromwtgrantfoundation.org/focusareas#research-practice-partnerships
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Cutting, J. E.
    (1987) Rigidity in cinema seen from the front row, side aisle. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 13(3), 323–334.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Cutting, J. E., Brunick, K. L., & Candan, A.
    (2012) Perceiving event dynamics and parsing Hollywood films. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38(6), 1476–1490.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Cutting, J., & Iricinschi, C.
    (2015) Re-presentations of space in Hollywood movies: An event-indexing analysis. Cognitive Science, 39, 434–434. 10.1111/cogs.12151
    https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12151 [Google Scholar]
  15. de Vega, M., & Leon, I., & Diaz, J. M.
    (1996) The representation of changing emotions in reading comprehension. Cognition and Emotion, 10, 303–321. 10.1080/026999396380268
    https://doi.org/10.1080/026999396380268 [Google Scholar]
  16. Ekman, P.
    (1992) An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion, 6, 169–200. 10.1080/02699939208411068
    https://doi.org/10.1080/02699939208411068 [Google Scholar]
  17. Ekman, P., Friesen, W. W., & Ellsworth, P.
    (1982) What are the relative contributions of facial behavior and contextual information to the judgment of emotion?InP. Ekman (Ed.), Emotions in the human face (2nd ed, pp.111–127). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Fletcher, C. R., & Bloom, C. P.
    (1988) Causal reasoning in the comprehension of simple narrative texts. Journal of Memory and Language, 27, 235–244. 10.1016/0749‑596X(88)90052‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-596X(88)90052-6 [Google Scholar]
  19. Gernsbacher, M. A., Hallada, B. M., & Robertson, R. R. W.
    (1998) How automatically do readers infer fictional characters’ emotional states?Scientific Studies of Reading, 2(3), 271–300. 10.1207/s1532799xssr0203_5
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532799xssr0203_5 [Google Scholar]
  20. Gerrig, R. J.
    (1993) Experiencing narrative worlds: On the psychological activities of reading. New Haven, CT: Yale.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Gerrig, R. J., & Jacovina, M. E.
    (2009) Reader participation in the experience of narrative. InB. Ross (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol.51, pp.223–254). New York, NY: Elsevier. 10.1016/S0079‑7421(09)51007‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0079-7421(09)51007-9 [Google Scholar]
  22. Graesser, A. C., Bowers, C., Olde, B., & Pomeroy, V.
    (1999) Who said what? Source memory for narrator and character agents in literary short stories. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(2), 284–300. 10.1037/0022‑0663.91.2.284
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.91.2.284 [Google Scholar]
  23. Hickenlooper, G. (Director) & Hell, K.
    (Executive Producer) (1994) Some folks call it a sling blade [Motion Picture]. USA: Vanguard Cinema.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Kintsch, W.
    (1988) The role of knowledge in discourse comprehension: A construction-integration model. Psychological Review, 95(2), 163–182. 10.1037/0033‑295X.95.2.163
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.95.2.163 [Google Scholar]
  25. Komeda, H., & Kusumi, T.
    (2006) The effect of protagonist’s emotional shift on situation model construction. Memory & Cognition, 34(7), 1548–1556. 10.3758/BF03195918
    https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03195918 [Google Scholar]
  26. Larsen, J. T., McGraw, A. P., & Caccioppo, J. T.
    (2001) Can people feel happy and sad at the same time?Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 684–696. 10.1037/0022‑3514.81.4.684
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.81.4.684 [Google Scholar]
  27. Long, D., & Golding, J.
    (1993) Superordinate goal inferences: Are they automatically generated during comprehension?Discourse Processes, 16, 55–74. 10.1080/01638539309544829
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539309544829 [Google Scholar]
  28. Magliano, J. P., Dijkstra, K., & Zwaan, R. A.
    (1996) Predictive inferences in movies. Discourse Processes, 22, 199–224. 10.1080/01638539609544973
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539609544973 [Google Scholar]
  29. Magliano, J. P., Miller, J., & Zwaan, R. A.
    (2001) Indexing space and time in film understanding. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15(5), 533–545. 10.1002/acp.724
    https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.724 [Google Scholar]
  30. Magliano, J. P., Taylor, H. A., & Kim, H. J.
    (2005) When goals collide: Monitoring the goals of multiple characters. Memory & Cognition, 33(8), 1357–1367. 10.3758/BF03193368
    https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193368 [Google Scholar]
  31. Magliano, J. P., & Zacks, J. M.
    (2011) The impact of continuity editing in narrative film on event segmentation. Cognitive Science, 35, 1489–1489. 10.1111/j.1551‑6709.2011.01202.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01202.x [Google Scholar]
  32. Miall, D. S.
    (1989) Beyond the schema given: Affective comprehension of literary narratives. Cognition & Emotion, 3, 55–78. 10.1080/02699938908415236
    https://doi.org/10.1080/02699938908415236 [Google Scholar]
  33. Mobbs, D., Weiskopf, N., Lau, H. C., Featherstone, E., Dolan, R. J., & Frith, C. D.
    (2006) The Kuleshov effect: The influence of contextual framing on emotional attributions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1, 95–95. 10.1093/scan/nsl014
    https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsl014 [Google Scholar]
  34. Myers, J. L., & O’Brien, E. J.
    (1998) Accessing the discourse representation during reading. Discourse Processes, 26, 131–157. 10.1080/01638539809545042
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539809545042 [Google Scholar]
  35. Özyürek, A., & Trabasso, T.
    (1997) Evaluation during the understanding of narratives. Discourse Processes, 23, 305–335. 10.1080/01638539709544995
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539709544995 [Google Scholar]
  36. Pennebaker, J. W., Booth, R. J., Boyd, R. L., & Francis, M. E.
    (2015) Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count: LIWC 2015. www.liwc.net
  37. Pennebaker, J. W., & Seagal, J. D.
    (1999) Forming a story. The health benefits of narrative. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 1243–1254. 10.1002/(SICI)1097‑4679(199910)55:10<1243::AID‑JCLP6>3.0.CO;2‑N
    https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-4679(199910)55:10<1243::AID-JCLP6>3.0.CO;2-N [Google Scholar]
  38. Prince, S., & Hensley, W. E.
    (1992) The Kuleshove effect: Recreating the classic experiment. Cinema Journal, 31, 59–75. 10.2307/1225144
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1225144 [Google Scholar]
  39. Pudovkin, V. I.
    (1929/1970) Film technique and film acting. New York, NY: Grove.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. (1974) Naturshchik vmesto aktera. Sobranie Sochinenii, 1, 184.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Rabinowitz, P.
    (1987) Before reading: Narrative conventions and the politics of interpretation. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Rapp, D. N., Komeda, H., & Hinze, S. R.
    (2011) Vivifications literary investigation. Scientific Study of Literature, 1(1), 123–135. 10.1075/ssol.1.1.13rap.
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.1.1.13rap [Google Scholar]
  43. Reichle, E. D., Pollatsek, A., Fisher, D. L., Rayner, K.
    (1998) Toward a model of eye movement control in reading. Psychological Review. 105, 125–57. 10.1037/0033‑295X.105.1.125
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.105.1.125 [Google Scholar]
  44. Russell, J. A., & Carroll, J. M.
    (1999) On the bipolarity of positive and negative emotions. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 3–30. 10.1037/0033‑2909.125.1.3
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.125.1.3 [Google Scholar]
  45. Suh, S., & Trabasso, T.
    (1993) Inferences during reading: Converging evidence from discourse analysis, talk-aloud protocols and recognition priming. Journal of Memory & Language, 32, 279–300. 10.1006/jmla.1993.1015
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1993.1015 [Google Scholar]
  46. Tan, E. S.
    (1996) Emotion and the structure of narrative film: Film as an emotion machine. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Thornton, B. B. (Director). & Meistrich, L.
    (Executive Producer) (1996) Sling blade [Motion Picture]. USA: Miramax.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Tompkins, S. S.
    (1962) Affect, imagery, consciousness (Vol. 1). New York, NY: Springer.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Tomkins, S. S., & McCarter, R.
    (1964) What and where are the primary affects: Some evidence for a theory. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 18, 119–158. 10.2466/pms.1964.18.1.119
    https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.1964.18.1.119 [Google Scholar]
  50. Trabasso, T., van den Broek, P., & Suh, S.
    (1989) Logical necessity and transitivity of causal relations in stories. Discourse Processes, 12, 1–25. 10.1080/01638538909544717
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638538909544717 [Google Scholar]
  51. Tversky, B., & Hard, B. M.
    (2009) Embodied and disembodied cognition: Spatial perspective-taking. Cognition, 110, 124–124. 10.1016/j.cognition.2008.10.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2008.10.008 [Google Scholar]
  52. Wallbott, H.
    (1988) In and out of context: Influences of facial expression and context information on emotion attributions. British Journal of Social Psychology, 27, 327–369. 10.1111/j.2044‑8309.1988.tb00837.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8309.1988.tb00837.x [Google Scholar]
  53. Zacks, J. M., Speer, N. K., & Reynolds, J. R.
    (2009) Segmentation in reading and film comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138(2), 307–327. 10.1037/a0015305
    https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015305 [Google Scholar]
  54. Zillmann, D.
    (1995) Mechanisms of emotional involvement with drama. Poetics, 23, 33–51. 10.1016/0304‑422X(94)00020‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-422X(94)00020-7 [Google Scholar]
  55. Zillmann, D., & Cantor, J. R.
    (1977) Affective responses to the emotions of the protagonist. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 13(2), 155–165. 10.1016/S0022‑1031(77)80008‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-1031(77)80008-5 [Google Scholar]
  56. Zwickel, J.
    (2009) Agency attribution and visuospatial perspective taking. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16(6), 1089–1093. 10.3758/PBR.16.6.1089
    https://doi.org/10.3758/PBR.16.6.1089 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): affect; cinema; comprehension
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error