If movie executives could figure out how to read our minds, they’d have a hit film every time. They haven’t perfected the technique yet, but they’re working on it.

The NYU film school has enlisted their psychology department to help future screenwriters and directors figure out what movie goers want to see. Since films take years to arrive on screen, they need to figure this out before the audience realizes it themselves.

Neuroscientist Uri Hasson started out by showing dramatic movies, such as Hitchcock films, to people and while watching to their brains with an fMRI machine, to see what parts of the brain “lit up” during which parts of the film. The Hitchcock film caused similar responses in the same area of all the viewers’ brains.

This helped him to understand how the brain processes our emotional responses to the images we see. LiveScience.com, Jeremy Hsu quotes Hasson as saying, “In the last four years or five years, we used movies in our experiments, but we used [them] basically to understand about the brain.”

The next logical step was to work with film students to PRODUCE images that will elicit the desired emotions in an audience. Will films pack a bigger emotional wallop in the future, thanks to this research? Wait and see!

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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