Neurocinema: The Study of How Films Control The Brain

We all know that movies are great. A good film can make us feel a range of emotions, cry from sadness or laughter – sometimes in the same film! People often say there is nothing like sitting in a cinema, waiting for the lights to go down, but does watching films actually have an effect on our brains? The science of Neurocinema aims to find out!

What is Neurocinema?

A few examples of the experiments and effects of Neurocinema // Credit: Braincraft, 2015

Neurocinema is the study of how movies affect our brains. Different parts of the brain react to various stimuli, so one part will react to a loved one, while another to a papercut. By scanning brain activity during certain scenes or films, we can see which parts of the brain react to the film. Films that we are more engaged in show a bigger reaction, while less engaged have only small ones. Film is unique as an art form because of the amount of sensory input. Every image and sound is controlled and intended to create a specific response. Not only does the science explore what makes a good film, but also learn more about how our brains work

Alfred Hitchcock is famously referred to as “The Master of Suspense” with films like Psycho, Vertigo and Rear Window often cited as some of the greatest thrillers of all time. His films still have influence today, decades after their original release. It’s not really a surprise then that some of his works are used in many experiments. Especially the iconic shower scene. Despite films often offering various depictions of mental disorders, neurocinema is focused on how brains react to the film, rather than how the films depict things, although results from studies could lead to films finding the “scientifically ideal” way to show them.

What could it mean?

Horror films such as IT are often used in studies // Credit: Warner Brothers, 2019

At a basic level, these studies can tell us which parts of a movie are “good” ie, engaging, causing the right emotional response and “bad”. Directors can then re-edit or reshoot scenes to create the most engaging version. Linger on a shot of the love interest glancing back, or cut the boring villain origin story. Marketing executives can push these scenes in the trailers. The tension between the Avengers, or the iconic soundtrack of Star Wars.

Although this information is often gathered by focus groups, results can be unreliable. If test audiences are shown several trailers over the course of 30 minutes, it’s likely they’ll have forgotten the first one by the end. They also can often change their opinions because they want to give the “correct” answers. By scanning brain activity, they can look at responses in the moment, as well as collect thoughts after they’ve had time to think. Focus groups can be invaluable, but there is a lot of room for error or fudged results.

An MRI scan of a subject viewing the trailer for Avatar // Credit: MindSign, 20th Century Fox, 2009

James Cameron, always one to harness new technologies, actually referenced the technology during the development of Avatar, stating his belief that a scan would show that audiences enjoyed 3D more than 2D. Although he may have been wrong (it’s really hard to find any information about something he said 10 years ago), he did use the technology on one of the trailers. With a test audience viewing the trailer in a modified MRI scanner, Cameron and his team were able to pinpoint the most engaging bits of the film to use in the trailer

Another genre that has been heavily influenced by science is horror. With studies showing that some films like IT are able to tap into audiences primal fears. When people jump or scream in the audience, it’s because the brain has “forgotten” they’re watching a film, and reacting on instinct. This works especially well with films that rely on actual phobias, like clowns.

Neurocinema is an exciting and new field, with a lot of potential to enhance the way we enjoy new movies, as well as offer fresh insights into old favourites. The brain is such an interesting thing to study, and the fact that films can stimulate it so could lead to some interesting discoveries. Who knows what this could lead to?

Also Read: Research Shows How Cinematherapy Can Help Reduce Anxiety

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Apple TV

Amazon Prime Video Streaming Tips for Subscribers in 2021

Following in the footsteps of Netflix that created the first online streaming service in 2007, several other companies have joined in on the business, building a reputation for themselves in the process.

Amazon is one of those companies, adding Amazon Prime Video to the list of subsidiaries under Amazon Inc. in 2008. In the last 12 years of its existence, the service has enjoyed massive success, generating billions for Amazon in revenue from as many as 175 million worldwide subscribers.

Among the many popular streaming services available today, Amazon Prime Video is notably known for having the best original content on its platform. But, other than the content value it provides, the service also has a couple of handy features available for the active subscriber’s convenience.

The following are tips on how to maximize those features to allow you to get the most out of your subscription at no additional cost to you:

Tips for Users of Amazon Streaming

  • Download – this feature is familiar to most services as it is proven to be very useful. Most users have employed the feature to save a lot of video content to be viewed later. It is convenient when a strong internet connection may not be available later – like in transit.
  • Customising Subtitles – the subtitle feature can be toggled on and off, depending on user preference. For those who prefer to stream with subtitles active, Amazon Prime Video offers users the freedom to customize it to size, font, and colour, depending on preference.
  • Extensions – Although it is only available on the web browser versions and not the apps, users can add extensions like rotten tomatoes for Amazon Prime Video.  These extensions from rating sites display the rating of the content before the user watches so they can filter through lowly-rated content.
  • Parental Control – For users who intend to share login details of the account with kids, the service allows the parents or guardians to set parental control on the account profile, preventing the child from viewing age-inappropriate content.  Depending on your package, you can have as many as six active profiles to set up and customize according to user preference.
  • Firestick – An Android-based device running on a modified Android OS that can access the Amazon store, including Amazon Prime Video. With this device, you can access your Amazon Prime from anywhere in the world and enjoy streaming benefits as well. Consider using a VPN for Firestick for privacy and security, or if you want to avoid ISP throttling.


Amazon Prime Video is one of the most successful streaming services globally, gathering rights from TV companies worldwide to provide more options for their viewers. Known for the quality in their services, Amazon extends the same feature to their streaming platform, providing several options for their customers to enjoy premium entertainment.

The above tips should help you maximize your subscription benefits and have a better overall streaming experience for active Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

Want more tech tips? Visit our friends at The Tech Fools


The History of Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures is an iconic and historically important film studio that has housed many important movies and franchises over the years. And in this article, we are going to briefly explore: how the company was created, several key moments from its history and the notable films the studio had a hand in.

Paramount’s Origins

The story begins in 1912 when Adolph Zukor established the Famous Players Film Company. Then in 1914, along with Jesse L. Lasky’s Feature Play Company, Famous Players began distributing films through W. W. Hodkinson’s Paramount Pictures Corporation. During this time the classic Paramount logo, 24 stars, representing the film stars it had contracted, above a mountain was unveiled. Come 1916 the three companies merged into Famous Players-Lasky. Later, the company changed its name to Paramount Pictures, Inc. as part of a reorganisation in the mid-1930s. Its origins make Paramount one of America’s longest surviving film studios.

The Logo of Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Film Company with Paramount as the distributor // Credit: Paramount Pictures

A Long History

The company’s first few decades were very successful. It was recognised for producing high-quality films (Famous Players-Lasky’s Wings won the first Oscar for best picture) and contracted bankable movie stars and talented directors like Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Ernst Lubitsch and Josef Von Sternberg. But another key to their success was their ownership of a large number of cinemas and a process called block booking. Which allowed Paramount to pack cinemas exclusively with their films.

But several hardships set Paramount back. They filed for bankruptcy in 1933. A number of factors may have contributed to this. Including the great depression, the difficulty in adapting cinemas for talking pictures and more. After recovering, in 1948 the supreme court ruled that film studios could not control cinema chains in the case United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. This loss and competition from television hit Paramount hard. Leading them to release many of their stars and reduce their personal productions to a few more, expensive pictures.

Gulf + Western bought Paramount in 1966 and restored the studio’s success with acclaimed star-driven hits and high concept pictures. It also bought Desilu Productions. With this acquisition, Paramount gained the rights to produce TV hits like Star Trek and Mission: Impossible.

This era continued until 1994 when Viacom (now ViacomCBS) gained a controlling share in Paramount. After this, they created the UPN TV network (later it became the CW after striking a deal with Warner Bros). And with 20th Century Fox it co-produced and distributed the highest-grossing film ever made at the time, Titanic. During the 21st-century things have remained relatively steady. With Paramount briefly acquiring DreamWorks and gaining the distribution rights to Miramax’s back catalogue. Recently the studio also leapt to streaming with Paramount+.

Notable Movies Made and Released by Paramount

Beginning by distributing the film Queen Elizabeth through the Famous Players Film Company, Paramount and its earlier iterations would create and showcase many highly regarded projects. The studio has been responsible for making and distributing many best picture winners across the world. Including Wings, Going My Way, The Lost Weekend, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Godfather Parts 1 and 2, Ordinary People, Terms of Endearment, Forrest Gump, Braveheart (in North America), Titanic, No Country for Old Men (in the UK) and The Kings Speech (in Australia).

And it is also responsible for creating and distributing many successful and acclaimed film series such as The Godfather, Star Trek, Friday the 13th Parts 1 – 8, Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible, Transformers and the Paranormal Activity series. But these selections only scratch the surface of the many great, successful and important films the studio has been involved with.

The posters of all the Star Trek films which Paramount owns the rights to // Credit: Paramount Pictures


Paramount has come a long way from it’s beginnings. It is one of the oldest surviving film studios, having formed over a hundred years ago. It quickly became a huge movie production, distribution and exhibition company which owned its own chain of theatres.

And over its life it has fought receivership, was at the centre of a landmark legal case and changed owners several times.

But despite this turbulent history Paramount has helped deliver many important films and franchises to audiences. And has had an immeasurable effect in shaping the modern movie landscape.

Also Read: The Unlikely Success of A24