At first glance attending the annual conference of the SCSMI (Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image) sounds somewhat old-fashioned: “Cognitive film studies? That’s so 1970s!” … But far from it! The SCSMI is a living scientific community which keeps renewing its object of research as well as its methodological toolbox. Together with Kathrin Fahlenbrach, also member of the Research Center for Media and Communication (RCMC), I was invited to this year’s SCSMI conference that took place 13-16 June 2012 in Bronxville, New York.
These lectures and the various other paper presentations made it quite clear that the majority of research within the SCSMI no longer focuses solely on modeling film viewers’ cognitive activity of ‘information processing’ (as one might expect with regard to the ‘cognitivist’ label) but on the viewing experience as a whole, covering moods, perception, emotions and the diverse ways of relating to fictional characters.
This became also apparent in the paper Kathrin Fahlenbrach and I presented: It was titled “Emotional Mechanics” and discussed the way video games structure players’ emotional responses to video game characters and their behaviour. The conference ended on June 16 with a banquet at New York University.
– Felix Schröter –