Articles & Notes — January 4, 2012 at 8:07 am

Neuroscience in films: how to predict what people like to watch?

San Diego-based company MindSign Neuromarketing says that it can ensure every film delivers its desired effect – using neuroscience, according to Wired.

Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as one of biology’s branches. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine and allied disciplines, philosophy, physics, and psychology.

The term neurobiology is usually used interchangeably with the term neuroscience, although the former refers specifically to the nervous system’s biology, whereas the latter refers to the entire science of the nervous system. Modern neuroscience education and research activities can be very roughly categorized into so-called major branches, based on subject and scale of the examined system.

Wikipedia lists the following branches: (affective, behavioral, cellular, clinical, computational, cultural, developmental, social, and others).

MindSign Neuromarketing is run by Philip Carlsen and Devin Hubbard. The company asks testers to watch a film while lying inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.

The machine detects the brain’s blood-oxygen levels, which indicate changes in neurological activity. MindSign then breaks down the results into one to two-second segments to reveal an audience’s reaction at any given moment.

Some directors may use this simply to crank up the fright factor, but MindSign says it can offer more subtle diagnostics, such as keeping censors happy while pinpointing just a few seconds of neuro-affecting footage.

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