Torben Grodal1
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  • 1 University of Copenhagen
The PECMA Flow
A General Model of Visual Aesthetics
in Film Studies
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This article argues that the central dimensions of film aesthetics may be explained by a general theory of viewer psychology, the PECMA flow model. The PECMA flow model explains how the film experience is shaped by the brain‘s architecture and the operation of different cognitive systems; the model describes how the experience is based on a mental flow from perception, through emotional activation and cognitive processing, to motor action. The article uses the flow model to account for a variety of aesthetic phenomena, including the reality-status of films, the difference between narrative and lyrical-associative film forms, and the notion of ‘excess’.

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