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UAL Research Online

Are Movies Making Us Smarter? The Role of Cinematic Evolution in the Flynn Effect

Smith, Tim and Essex, Claire and Bedford, Rachael (2023) Are Movies Making Us Smarter? The Role of Cinematic Evolution in the Flynn Effect. Projections, 17 (1). ISSN 1934-9688

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Smith, Tim and Essex, Claire and Bedford, Rachael

Standardised IQ tests have charted massive gains over the last century, known as the Flynn Effect. Over the same period, the time society spends with screens has massively increased and the composition of popular Western movies has intensified, e.g. shorter shot durations, closer shots, increasing narrative complexity. In Movies on our Minds: The Evolution of Cinematic Engagement (2021), James Cutting suggests a potential bidirectional link between the two effects: generational increase in visual processing abilities led to movie makers increasing the demands their movies place on viewer cognition, which in turn has trained societal visual processing capacity. In this commentary we review the empirical evidence for the predicted positive association between screen time and visual processing abilities. The evidence indicates that increasing exposure to intense screen experiences may be associated with faster visual processing, but a potentially decreased ability to use and reason about this information (i.e. reduced executive functions). Further, effects may be dependent on the type of screen experience (e.g. developmental appropriateness of content and content delivery platform such as TikTok) and other environmental considerations (e.g. socioeconomic status, parenting) suggesting that the factors influencing our evolving media/mind niche may be more complex than originally proposed.

Official Website: https://doi.org/10.3167/proj.2023.170107
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Film theory, intelligence, visual attention, film history, cognitive development
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Berghahn Journals
Your affiliations with UAL: Research Centres/Networks > Institute for Creative Computing
Date: 1 March 2023
Digital Object Identifier: 10.3167/proj.2023.170107
Projects or Series: Parent Administered Screen Time Intervention (PASTI)
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2023 05:42
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 16:17
Item ID: 21117
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/21117

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