What is going on in the mind of a viewer when they watch an audiovisual narrative? Film and TV evolved formal techniques to minimise the effort involved in processing their highly unnatural flow of sensory information. Here we study cinematic techniques such as cinematography, editing, and sound design as well as their moment-by-moment influences on cognition and emotion to both understand why film evolved the way it did and what this tells us about how we process real-world dynamic scenes.
Our work into film cognition tackles many aspects including film literacy, the role of sound, narrative comprehension and edit blindness. But a large part of our work has focussed on the perception of continuity across edited film sequences and how we can use eye tracking as a window into the real-time cognition occurring during film viewing. All of these areas are covered in our publications below but for a quick overview of these two main areas first check out these publications:
Smith, Tim J. (2012) The attentional theory of cinematic continuity. Projections 6 (1), pp. 1-27. ISSN 1934-9688.
Smith, Tim J. (2013) Watching you watch movies: using eye tracking to inform film theory. In: Shimamura, A (ed.) Psychocinematics: Exploring Cognition at the Movies. New York, U.S.: Oxford University Press, pp. 165-191. ISBN 9780199862139.
For on-going ramblings on this topic check out Dr. Tim J. Smith's research blog, Continuity Boy.