Graduation Date

Spring 2024

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Mari Sanchez

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Amber Gaffney

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Neurocinematics, Neurocinema, Cinema, Neuroscience, Empathy, Embodied simulation, Cognitive empathy, Visual media

Subject Categories



Cinema is a medium that is beloved around the globe since its inception over a century ago. There have been speculations on how it is that cinema works, from editing to emotional processing of the story, but only recently have we begun to explore the inner workings of cinematic impact on the brain. In this paper we will review research on cinematic impact and define cinematic editing, discuss the birth of “neurocinematics”, highlight what we have observed with regards to neuroimaging and empathy when viewing films, and speculate on how our responses to cinema may be driven by the Mirror Neuron Mechanism. Past research in the neuroscience of cinema is sparse, but since the turn of the century there have been significant advances and inquiries on how our brains interpret cinematic stimuli. There are new fronts to still explore to understand how it is that cinema affects us, and this paper serves to inspire this fledgling field to press on.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location


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