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Movies, Meaning, and Social Influence: A Developmental-Interactionist Theory of Film Communication

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Abstract:

This research seeks to develop an empirically relevant model of the film communication process, with particular attention to the ways authors use film media to convey messages to an audience. Prior research from both film and communication disciplines is examined and critiqued, with particular attention to the limitations of Worth’s model of film communication. A new model of film communication is advanced from a developmental-interactionist perspective, labeling film communication as containing channels of comprehension (cognitive) and empathy (emotional,) with an integrative attitude dimension. Developmental-interactionism is then used to discuss the evolutionary basis of pro-social behavior, including paradoxes of conformity, and the function and behavior of groups with respect to the arts and specifically film. An experiment is then conducted to examine the effects of group interpretation on the posed dimensions of film communication.
Results suggest that group interpretation of a film increases levels of comprehension, yet decreases levels of director-to-viewer empathy and attitude-based evaluations of the film. A critical relationship between viewer empathy and viewer attitude towards film suggests the dominance of the emotional stream of communication in the process of film appreciation. Audience employment of segmentation technique to denote relevant material within the stimulus reveals familiar patterns in the viewing process and audience attention. Ramifications for understanding broader patterns of film viewing and filmmaking, and conundrums of cognitive understanding and emotional relation are discussed.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

film (255), communic (171), emot (74), group (50), process (46), interpret (41), viewer (40), research (38), attitud (36), studi (35), understand (33), media (33), comprehens (32), model (32), social (31), audienc (31), individu (30), discuss (28), empathi (28), new (26), theori (26),

Author's Keywords:

Film, Movies, Developmental, Interactionism, Stifano, Film Communication, Movies
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Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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MLA Citation:

Stifano, Stephen. "Movies, Meaning, and Social Influence: A Developmental-Interactionist Theory of Film Communication" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott, Chicago, IL, May 21, 2009 <Not Available>. 2017-09-11 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p299221_index.html>

APA Citation:

Stifano, S. , 2009-05-21 "Movies, Meaning, and Social Influence: A Developmental-Interactionist Theory of Film Communication" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott, Chicago, IL Online <PDF>. 2017-09-11 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p299221_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This research seeks to develop an empirically relevant model of the film communication process, with particular attention to the ways authors use film media to convey messages to an audience. Prior research from both film and communication disciplines is examined and critiqued, with particular attention to the limitations of Worth’s model of film communication. A new model of film communication is advanced from a developmental-interactionist perspective, labeling film communication as containing channels of comprehension (cognitive) and empathy (emotional,) with an integrative attitude dimension. Developmental-interactionism is then used to discuss the evolutionary basis of pro-social behavior, including paradoxes of conformity, and the function and behavior of groups with respect to the arts and specifically film. An experiment is then conducted to examine the effects of group interpretation on the posed dimensions of film communication.
Results suggest that group interpretation of a film increases levels of comprehension, yet decreases levels of director-to-viewer empathy and attitude-based evaluations of the film. A critical relationship between viewer empathy and viewer attitude towards film suggests the dominance of the emotional stream of communication in the process of film appreciation. Audience employment of segmentation technique to denote relevant material within the stimulus reveals familiar patterns in the viewing process and audience attention. Ramifications for understanding broader patterns of film viewing and filmmaking, and conundrums of cognitive understanding and emotional relation are discussed.


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