Psycho-Cinema: Technologies of Modern Affect (SCMS 2012 Panel; deadline 08/06/2011)

full name / name of organization: 
Ana Olenina / Harvard University
contact email: 

SCMS Conference Panel, March 21-25, 2012, Boston

Psycho-Cinema: Technologies of Modern Affect

This panel seeks to examine historical interrelations between cinema and experimental psychology. At the turn of the 20th century, the moving image entered the methodological arsenal of psychologists. As an experimental medium and recording apparatus, it served to register physiological traces of transient mental states, to microscope time in developmental studies, and to simulate everyday experiences in psychotechnical tests, to name only few of the diverse applications. How did technologies
of filming and projection contribute to modern conceptions of the mind and its operations? Did moving images generate new ideas and theories of attention, perception, memory, affect, and imagination? What were the ethical, epistemological, cultural, and legal implications of psycho-cinematic experiments? What role did cinema play in the popular dissemination of psychology and neurophysiology?
Another set of issues to be explored in this panel will concern the relationship between psychological theory and filmic practice, particularly as it bears on experiences of spectatorship. From Eisenstein's reflexological montage of attractions to the psychoanalytic framework of Hitchcock's Spellbound, in what ways did psychology impact cinematic content, form, and filmgoing experience? What institutional forces brought these configurations into being? How was psychology applied in cinema and employed in the psychological experiment? We are looking for papers that historicize the relationship between the cinema and the spectatorial mind.

Please email 300-word abstracts with 5-item bibliographies to Ana Olenina (olenina AT and Jeremy Blatter (jblatter AT by August 6, 2011. Submissions will be reviewed by August 15, 2011.

Panel topics include but are not limited to:

• The impact of psychological ideas on film theory and filmmaking practices
• Psychology and strategies of visual rhetoric
• The movie camera as scientific instrument in the psychological and neurophysiological laboratory
• Experimental studies of spectators' reactions
• Cinema and enactive psychotherapy
• Moving images in applied psychology
• Theories of the harmful effects of cinema
• Educational films about psychology and the nervous system, medicine films, professional training films