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Embodied VisionsEvolution, Emotion, Culture and Film$
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Torben Grodal

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371314

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371314.001.0001

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Screaming Lambs and Lusty Wolves

Screaming Lambs and Lusty Wolves

Moral Attitudes and Evolution

(p.79) 4 Screaming Lambs and Lusty Wolves
Embodied Visions

Torben Grodal

Oxford University Press

This chapter contrasts different approaches to the question of the relationship between morality and the viewer’s simulation of emotions in film and uses The Silence of the Lambs as a test case for discussion. It discusses how some layers of morality are based on innate dispositions reflecting hunter-gatherer life conditions, whereas others are based on cultural moral norms that reflect more recent types of life in large social groups, and it assesses how different films or even different sections of the same film appeal to different moral norms and switch between norms. The chapter further discusses sociological evidence that morality is context-dependent and that viewers—contrary to claims by some, such as Noel Carroll—therefore can be influenced by a given film context to enjoy films that are different from their normal professed morality. The chapter also discusses why a neurocognitive approach has many similarities to a Freudian approach—for instance, in pointing out the importance of unconscious and eventually repressed thoughts and emotions—as well as many strong differences.

Keywords:   evolution of morals, morality and film, Silence of the Lambs, film reception, Freud and neurology

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