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Katrin Heimann

Embodying the camera: An EEG study on the effect of camera movements on film spectators´ sensorimotor cortex activation

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  • Katrin Heimann
  • Marta Calbi, Universitá degli Studi di Parma, Italy
  • Sebo Uithol, Universitá degli Studi di Parma, Germany
  • Maria A. Umilta, Univ Parma, University of Parma, Dept Food & Drug Sci
  • ,
  • Michele Guerra, Universitá degli Studi di Parma, Italy
  • Joerg Fingerhut, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • Vittorio Gallese, Universitá degli Studi di Parma, Univ London, University of London, University of London School of Advanced Study, Inst Philosophy, Sch Adv Study, Italy
One key feature of film consists in its power to bodily engage the viewer. Previous research has suggested lens and camera movements to be among the most effective stylistic devices involved in such engagement. In an EEG experiment we assessed the role of such movements in modulating specific spectators´ neural and experiential responses, likely reflecting such engagement. We produced short video clips of an empty room with a still, a zooming and a moving camera (steadicam) that might simulate the movement of an observer in different ways. We found an event related desynchronization of the beta components of the rolandic mu rhythm that was stronger for the clips produced with steadicam than for those produced with a still or zooming camera. No equivalent modulation in the attention related occipital areas was found, thus confirming the sensorimotor nature of spectators´ neural responses to the film clips. The present study provides the first empirical evidence that filmic means such as camera movements alone can modulate spectators’ bodily engagement with film.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211026
JournalP L o S One
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • EEG (electroencephalography), Mu rhythm, Mirror neuron system, Cognitive Film Studies, camera movement, style, aesthetics, cinematography, film theory, film history

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