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Investigations on the dynamics of affective viewer responses to film (416)

What is the relationship of the temporal composition of audiovisual pictures and the temporal dynamics of the viewers’ feelings? Which roles in this are played by plot constellations and cinematic aesthetics - and how do they interact?

The main aim of the project is to address the fundamental film-theoretical question concerning the emotional impact of the reception of genre films and to make this question accessible to a neuropsychological investigation. How does the aesthetic expressive quality of audiovisual pictures relate to the narrativity of cinematic fiction regarding the viewers’ emotional response?

With this on the one hand fundamental media scientific concepts of viewer reception (cognitivist and neo-phenomenological model of film reception) will be assessed and specified in their epistemic value. On the other hand empirically founded premises and hypotheses of both approaches will be transferred to one integrative approach. Finally the methodological and theoretical audiovisual basis will be created to extend neuropsychological research on the processing of audiovisual information toward complex compository structures of audiovisual pictures.

For this a descriptive method for the film-analytical investigation of cinematic expressivity will be combined with several physiological measures (SCR, heart rate, respiratory rate) and functional magnetic resonance tomography.


Kappelhoff, H., Bakels, J.-H. (2011). Das Zuschauergefühl - Möglichkeiten qualitativer Medienanalyse. Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft 5 (2).