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Moving PicturesA New Theory of Film Genres, Feelings, and Cognition$
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Torben Grodal

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159834

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159834.001.0001

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Cognitive Identification and Empathy

Cognitive Identification and Empathy

(p.81) 4 Cognitive Identification and Empathy
Moving Pictures

Torben Grodal

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates that emotional empathy and cognitive identification play a crucial role in the reception of visual fiction, and also that cognition and emotion are two different aspects of one information system. It uses an example from Psycho to illustrate the means by which cognitive identification causes empathy, because cognition is intimately linked to motivation. It analyses the intersubjective status of emotions and describes the cognitive labelling of emotions as a narrative strategy. It also discusses the way in which narrative processes can be described as homeostatic systems, that is, as an alternative to the psychoanalytic description of narration as driven by ‘narrative desire’. The chapter examines the applicability of two concepts of homeostasis — telic and paratelic motivation — as tools for describing visual fiction and entertainment.

Keywords:   emotional empathy, cognitive identification, visual fiction, cognition, emotion, telic motivation, paratelic motivation

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