As we identify with characters on screen, we simulate their emotions and thoughts. This is accompanied by physiological changes such as galvanic skin response (GSR), an indicator for emotional arousal, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), referring to vagal activity. We investigated whether the presence of a cinema audience affects these psychophysiological processes. The study was conducted in a real cinema in Berlin. Participants came twice to watch previously rated emotional film scenes eliciting amusement, anger, tenderness or fear. Once they watched the scenes alone, once in a group. We tested whether the vagal modulation in response to the mere presence of others influences explicit (reported) and implicit markers (RSA, heart rate (HR) and GSR) of emotional processes in function of solitary or collective enjoyment of movie scenes. On the physiological level, we found a mediating effect of vagal flexibility to the mere presence of others. Individuals showing a high baseline difference (alone vs. social) prior to the presentation of film, maintained higher RSA in the alone compared to the social condition. The opposite pattern emerged for low baseline difference individuals. Emotional arousal as reflected in GSR was significantly more pronounced during scenes eliciting anger independent of the social condition. On the behavioural level, we found evidence for emotion-specific effects on reported empathy, emotional intensity and Theory of Mind. Furthermore, people who decrease their RSA in response to others’ company are those who felt themselves more empathically engaged with the characters. Our data speaks in favour of a specific role of vagal regulation in response to the mere presence of others in terms of explicit empathic engagement with characters during shared filmic experience.

Sharing the filmic experience. The physiology of socioemotional processes in the cinema / Kaltwasser, L.; Rost, N.; Ardizzi, M.; Calbi, M.; Settembrino, L.; Fingerhut, J.; Pauen, M.; Gallese, V.. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - 14:10(2019), p. e0223259. [10.1371/journal.pone.0223259]

Sharing the filmic experience. The physiology of socioemotional processes in the cinema.

Ardizzi, M.;Calbi, M.;Gallese, V.
2019

Abstract

As we identify with characters on screen, we simulate their emotions and thoughts. This is accompanied by physiological changes such as galvanic skin response (GSR), an indicator for emotional arousal, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), referring to vagal activity. We investigated whether the presence of a cinema audience affects these psychophysiological processes. The study was conducted in a real cinema in Berlin. Participants came twice to watch previously rated emotional film scenes eliciting amusement, anger, tenderness or fear. Once they watched the scenes alone, once in a group. We tested whether the vagal modulation in response to the mere presence of others influences explicit (reported) and implicit markers (RSA, heart rate (HR) and GSR) of emotional processes in function of solitary or collective enjoyment of movie scenes. On the physiological level, we found a mediating effect of vagal flexibility to the mere presence of others. Individuals showing a high baseline difference (alone vs. social) prior to the presentation of film, maintained higher RSA in the alone compared to the social condition. The opposite pattern emerged for low baseline difference individuals. Emotional arousal as reflected in GSR was significantly more pronounced during scenes eliciting anger independent of the social condition. On the behavioural level, we found evidence for emotion-specific effects on reported empathy, emotional intensity and Theory of Mind. Furthermore, people who decrease their RSA in response to others’ company are those who felt themselves more empathically engaged with the characters. Our data speaks in favour of a specific role of vagal regulation in response to the mere presence of others in terms of explicit empathic engagement with characters during shared filmic experience.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11381/2866266
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