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February 19, 2007

Comments

Frank Jania

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Could it be that one of the reasons for the relative compactness of films is the fact that they are reaching our brains through a variety of channels, including the broader visual ones?
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That would be my assumption. Its certainly the case in communication. There is much more effective information sharing in richer forms of communication (e.g. face to face) than there are in less rich forms (e.g. IM). I'm not familiar with the neuroscience, but I certainly can speak from experience in saying that I can consume a movie scene much faster than the same scene in a book since the emotion / mood / movements of the characters are sent in parallel data channel.

james governor

my visual processing centers are pathetic. i am almost all text. you might take a different tack and use an online poll to find out whether people are visually or language oriented. i am sure the geniuses at MIT have some useful data too, but it probably wouldn't hurt to ask people how their minds work. i dont see films as particularly compact. how many times has someone said - oh you need to see it a few times to get this or that (shot, gag or whatever) - with books people rarely say oh you need to read it a bunch of times to get the value. that could be because movies are less compact in that they are designed to wash over us, rather than asking for in process feedback. the two hour movie meanwhile is very often just a five piece plot extended into set-piece heaven. i

Manuel Monserrate

Irving, I remember when you were discussing this two weeks ago in RTP. You made a particularly humorous remark that I thought was right on, about the bits 'falling out of your head' sometimes with the information overload that we deal with. I truly hope that some of the brain research underway today starts looking into these questions about the possibility of having different learning channels other than typical language processing. I constantly feel that there are so many things that I want to read and process going on around me, that it does become very hard at times to hang on to the information. Thank you for the insight!

Manuel Monserrate

Irving, I remember when you were discussing this two weeks ago in RTP. You made a particularly humorous remark that I thought was right on, about the bits 'falling out of your head' sometimes with the information overload that we deal with. I truly hope that some of the brain research underway today starts looking into these questions about the possibility of having different learning channels other than typical language processing. I constantly feel that there are so many things that I want to read and process going on around me, that it does become very hard at times to hang on to the information. Thank you for the insight!

Andreas Weinberger

Irving, your question "if there is something about the visual and multimedia nature of films that permits them to tell a story in a couple of hours that would take significantly longer to read." ist very interesting and you should try a little experiment.

Take two novels that have been made into films, one with a real world setting and one with something you are not used to have a visual impression from (as for example a Science Fiction setting).

I think you will agree that you could sort this 4 different media impressions as follows (least time needed for reception on top):

film in real world setting
film in sci-fi setting
text in real world setting
text in sch-fi setting

And my guess is, that if you are seeing a familiar shape or hearing a familiar sound your brain takes a shortcut in digesting the se information.

I sometimes do some training for people (Information Workers) to help them in optimizing their work and one of the techniques (in Mind Manager Mapping) I show them is using color schemes and symbols they are accustomed to and that are commonly agreed upon so that they and other people they give their maps to understand the meaning very fast.

Best wishes

Andreas

james governor

aha. see this take on infant brain cognition- and why fast-moving images are not so good.
"# Talk to young children. Because language is symbolic, it requires thinking just to "unlock" meanings of words.
# Use audio tapes frequently to replace videos or movies for entertainment. Fast-moving screen images require little thought to process and don't give much time to the cerebral cortex to engage.
# Limit the use of television. TV is not very symbolic and usually requires few mental gymnastics to interpret. Remember, when the brain is used to thinking, it actually grows in mass"

http://www.nncc.org/Release/brain.language.html

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