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PLoS One. 2019 Mar 13;14(3):e0211026. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211026. eCollection 2019.

Embodying the camera: An EEG study on the effect of camera movements on film spectators´ sensorimotor cortex activation.

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Department of Medicine and Surgery, Unit of Neuroscience, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.
Department of Food and Drug, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.
Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Cultural Industries, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London, London, United Kingdom.


One key feature of film consists in its power to bodily engage the viewer. Previous research has suggested lens and camera movements to be among the most effective stylistic devices involved in such engagement. In an EEG experiment we assessed the role of such movements in modulating specific spectators´ neural and experiential responses, likely reflecting such engagement. We produced short video clips of an empty room with a still, a zooming and a moving camera (steadicam) that might simulate the movement of an observer in different ways. We found an event related desynchronization of the beta components of the rolandic mu rhythm that was stronger for the clips produced with steadicam than for those produced with a still or zooming camera. No equivalent modulation in the attention related occipital areas was found, thus confirming the sensorimotor nature of spectators´ neural responses to the film clips. The present study provides the first empirical evidence that filmic means such as camera movements alone can modulate spectators' bodily engagement with film.

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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