Representation, Reality, and Emotions Across Media

in Film Studies
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This article addresses two questions about artworks. First, why do we emotionally respond to characters and stories that we believe are fictional? Second, why are some media better than others at generating specific types of emotions? I answer these questions using psychological research that suggests our minds are not unified, but are comprised of numerous subsystems that respond differently to various aspects of artworks. I then propose a framework to help us understand how films, videogames, and literature interact with our minds in different ways, which explains why they tend to excel at generating different types of emotions.

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