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The Reality of Illusion: An Ecological Approach to Cognitive Film Theory Hardcover – January 17, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0809320004 ISBN-10: 0809320002 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (January 17, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809320002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809320004
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,778,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Anderson joins a small group of theorists who are sounding a call to increase the emphasis on experimental method as the primary and most important tool for research on film viewing. The author regards cognitive theory, which treats the mind as an information processor and a computer as an inspiration, as the research paradigm of choice for film theorists. The film viewer is ‘a standard biological audio/video processor.’ Thus, Anderson has organized this book according to areas of film theory that can be fruitfully studied from a cognitive perspective—human perception, perception of images and sounds in the film medium, problems of continuity and narrativity, character recognition and attribution, etc. This book will stimulate discussion among those seriously interested in film study."Choice



"[T]his book bucks the tide ... [and] may participate in shifting the direction of film studies as a whole as well as the particular direction of film psychology. . . . The Reality of Illusion deals with the problems—psychology and spectatorship—that are absolutely central to the field of cinema studies. It comes at them from an unorthodox angle. However, that is why the book is so potentially important."     —Noel Carroll, author of Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary Film Theory

About the Author

Joseph D. Anderson heads the Institute for Cognitive Studies in Film and Video at the University of Kansas


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joel F. Richeimer on March 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book if you are interested in the film experience. It is not a how to book on making films. Nor will it necessarily make you appreciate films more. But if you find it amazing that we enjoy films and if you wonder how film experience is different from everyday experience, then this is a very fine book.

It stands in the classic tradition of attempts to figure out what is happening to the spectator when watching a film, such as Munsterberg's 1916 study relying on the psychology of his day and Rudolf Arnheim's work that relied on Gestalt psychology. Anderson's book relies on Gibsonian ecological psychology.

It will show you what we know and make you amazed how mysterious the film experience is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Monica Baehr on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
For a psychologist and college teacher who uses films in class, plus is writing about films, education, and psychology, this book is a very good overview of how movies affect the viewer's mind and brain; that is basically the meaning of "cognitive theory." There are many other books written before and after, some going into great detail and using more sophisticated language from both film theory and cognitive science. However, the author's accessible style makes it a pleasure to work through and forms a foundation for further reading. It includes topics such as evolution, perception, emotion, neuroscience, and narrative in relation to how we perceive and respond to film.

If my primary goal were to learn how to make films, of course cognitive theory would not be my first topic, but perhaps it makes sense to understand more of the thinking behind the creation. Surely learning a craft, even a very complex one such as film making, does not have to exclude a more thorough education.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Altmann on March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a college text it's sort of interesting and different, however it still is a college text meaning that it's a bit dense and kind of full of seemingly useless information.
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2 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dan E. Ginavan on May 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I know this text fairly well. I went to film school, and Joe Anderson was the head of the film deparment. I took his cognitive film theory class, and his own book, this book, was the text.

This book will teach you nothing about film. It is a psychology book. It is moderately interesting to consider how the brain works to perceive the illusion of strobing still images and sound, bonding it together into a "moving" image on the screen. But this will not teach you anything about making film, video, or TV.

So, if you really like film theory, but don't like film, then this book is for you. If you want to be a better filmmaker then run, run away.

By the way, I got an incomplete in his class. But he left the university after that semester.
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