Movies tell stories that capture our sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Through acting, staging, camera movements, and editing techniques, filmmakers create moving pictures that drive our attention, instilling suspense, laughter, horror, sadness and surprise along the way. Why are movies so compelling? How do they keep us riveted to the screen? We know little about the science of these cinematic techniques—a field that I’ve coined psychocinematics. Yet explorations into our movie experience may tell us much about everyday cognitive and emotional processes.

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Art’s Articles on Psychocinematics

Shimamura, A. P. (2013). Chapter 1: Psychocinematics: Issues and directions. In A. P. Shimamura (Editor), Psychocinematics: Exploring Cognition at the Movies. New York: Oxford University Press, (pp. 1-26).

Shimamura, A. P. (2014). Psychocinematics: Bridging art and science at the movies. Townsend Center for the Humanties, UC Berkeley.

Shimamura, A. P., Cohn-Sheehy, B. I. Pogue, B. L., & Shimamura, T. A. (2015). How attention is driven by film edits: A multimodal experience. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 9, 417-422. 

Shimamura, A. P., Cohn-Sheehy, B. I. & Shimamura, T. A. (2014). Perceiving motion across film edits: A psychocinematic analysis. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8, 77-80.

Shimamura, A. P. Marian, D. E., & Haskins, A. L. (2013). Neural correlates of emotional suppression while viewing films. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 7, 77-84.

Shimamura-Muybridge Cover

Shimamura, A. P. (2002). Muybridge in motion: Travels in art, psychology, and neurologyHistory of Photography, 26, 341-350.

Marian, D. E., & Shimamura, A. P. (2013). Context effects following dynamic facial expressions. American Journal of Psychology, 126, 53–65.

Anderson, L., & Shimamura, A. P. (2005). Influences of emotion on context memory while viewing film clips. American Journal of Psychology, 118, 323-337.