Cinema

Neurophilosophy

Category archives for Cinema

Amnesia in the movies

Despite occuring only rarely, amnesia (or memory loss) has featured often in Hollywood films for almost a century. By 1926, at least 10 silent films which used amnesia as a plot device had been made; more recent productions, such as 50 First Dates and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, are therefore part of a…

A hilarious scene from The Man With Two Brains.

Neurocinematics

Researchers from the Computational Neuroimaging Laboratory at New York University recently carried out a study of the effects of films on viewers’ brains. Hasson et al scanned the brains of 45 participants whilst they watched scenes from a number of films and television programmes. Not surprisingly, they found that all the scenes activated numerous and…

Stasi smell jars in the cinema

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the headquarters of the Stasi (the East German secret police) were found to contain a large room in which many thousands of “smell jars” were stored. Each jar contained an odour sample from a suspect, collected either during interrogation, by means of a perforated iron smell…

Psycho shower curtain

The great filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock had a profound insight into the workings of the human mind. “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it,” he once said, and the shower scene from Psycho, demonstrates this perfectly. This scene is one of the most shocking ever filmed. Yet, it does not…

Reel Bad Arabs

The vilification of Arabs in American popular culture serves an ideological purpose: the dehumanization of America’s “enemy” in the “clash of civilisations“. (Via Woman of Color Blog)

Craig Venter advocates cognitive enhancement

At Wired, filmmaker Ridley Scott discusses the forthcoming remastered final cut of Blade Runner. This classic 1982 film depicts a dystopian futuristic society based on artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, and was recently voted as the best science fiction film ever made by 60 top scientists.  The interview includes quotes about the film from various…

NY Times on creationist filmmakers’ deception

The New York Times has an article about how Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott (director of the National Center for Science Education) were duped into appearing in Expelled, a film that puts forward the case for intelligent design and depicts science as something that limits freedom of thought. PZ has written about the…

The philosophy of The Matrix

IN The Matrix (Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999) Keanu Reeves plays a computer programmer who leads a double life as a hacker called “Neo”. After receiving cryptic messages on his computer monitor, Neo begins to search for the elusive Morpheus (Laurence Fishburn), the leader of a clandestine resistance group, who he believes is responsible for…

Science in The Simpsons

“What is matter? Never mind. What is mind? Never matter.” So says Homer, in one episode of The Simpsons. And although I’m not an adherent of Homerian dualism, the show is still my favourite thing on television. I think it’s sheer genius. The Simpsons often contains science-based jokes and references to evolution, cosmology and particle…