Neurocinematics @ the Worlding the Brain Conference, Aarhus University

Enactive Virtuality Lab presented the collaborative research with the Brain and Mind Lab of the Aalto School of Science at the Worlding the Brain Conference in Aarhus University, Nov 27-29.

Image: The son (Juha Hippi) confronting his father (Vesa Wallgren). Short film The Queen (Kuningatar) is directed by Pia Tikka, Production Aalto University in collaboration with Oblomovies Oy 2013.

 


TITLE: Narrative priming of moral judgments in film viewing

Authors: Pia Tikka, Jenni Hannukainen, Tommi Himberg, and Mikko Sams

How does narrative priming influence the moral judgements of the film viewers? In two studies we focus on the evaluation of the rightness of the perceived action of the characters and the acceptability of these actions, in relation to the viewers experience of sympathy and filmic tension.
Providing additional narrative information beforehand for the viewers is an effective method to manipulate how they perceive and make sense of the film narrative. Our experiment data is collected from two different studies, behavioral and psychophysiological. In both experimental settings two groups receive additional background information of either the male or the female character, while the third controls are not primed. All subjects view the same 25 minute long drama film and reply to post questionnaires online.
Based on the collected data in the first experiment using parallel mixed method analysis we showed that the narrative priming itself does not increase the spectrum of the moral judgment statements and the acceptance of the wrong-doings by the characters but more influential factor seems to be the type of the action and its relation to the generally accepted moral norms. Yet, the narrative priming increased the explanatory spectrum of the subjects, which showed to some extent the trend for accepting or trying to understand actions that embody socio-emotionally complex situations. In the second currently on-going psychophysiological study (HR, EDA; EEG) we expect the explanatory spectrum collected via online questionnaires to correlate with the results of the first behavioral study. However, we also expect to show more priming dependent and spatio-temporal film-event dependent differences in arousal between all groups, indicating the influence of priming to the unconscious emotional and cognitive processes related to moral judgements

The Booth @ Worlding the Brain conference in Aarhus Uni

The Booth

Due to on-going experiments more details added about this art/science project only after the experimental data collection has been completed. Our presentation in Aarhus University Worlding the Brain Conference, 27–29 Nov, 2018, showed initial findings.

Team: Pia Tikka, Ilkka Kosunen, Lynda Joy Gerry, Eeva R Tikka, Victor Pardinho, Can Uzer, Angela Kondinska, Michael Becken & Ben Ighoyota Ajenaghughrure, with others.

Finnish Cultural Foundation Huhtamäki Fund; Virtual Cinema Lab Aalto University School of ARTS; BioLab by Digital Technology Insitute, Tallinn University; Tikka & Kosunen: EU Mobilitas Pluss Top Researcher Grant (2017-2022), Estonian Research Council in association with Tallinn University.

Talk at Sergej Eisenstein Workshop, The Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies (ZeM), Potsdam, Nov 22-24

Sergej Eisenstein and the Game of Objects 

Workshop at The Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies (ZeM), Potsdam

In the year which marks both the 120th anniversary of Sergej Eisenstein’s birth and the 70th anniversary of his death, the Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies (ZeM) in Potsdam and “Cinepoetics – Center for Advanced Film Studies” at the Free University Berlin are jointly organising a workshop that will take place in Potsdam from the 22th to 24th November 2018. More here.

Title of the talk by Pia Tikka: Simulatorium Eisensteinense: Eisenstein’s legacy in art and science dialogue 

Image form Sergei Eisenstein Elokuvan muoto, p 121 ISBN 951-835-004-3

Neurocinematic film “The Queen” – collaboration with Aalto Behavioral Lab

Enactive Virtuality Lab is collaborating with the Brain and Mind Lab of the Aalto School of Science, studying how narrative priming affects the viewer’s narrative story construction. Study on-going.

Images: Tea (Maria Järvenhelmi), Henrik  (Vesa Wallgren) and his son Daniel (Juha Hippi). Short film The Queen (Kuningatar) directed by Pia Tikka, screenplay by Eeva R Tikka. Production Oblomovies Oy and Dreammill Productions and in association with Aalto University 2013.
The film has been produced for experimental brain research purposes, which cannot be revealed at this point, as the study is on-going.
In the image Enactive Virtuality Lab’s student team Angela Kondinska and Michael Becken at Aalto University Behavioural Lab measuring physiological signals of volunteers at the end of October.  Collaborators from Aalto School of Science, Brain and Mind Lab are professor Mikko Sams,. Dr.Tommi Himberg, Veli-Matti Saarinen, and project researcher Jenni Hannukainen, Enactive Virtuality Lab, Tallinn University.

Neurocinematic publication – Narrative comprehension beyond language

Pia Tikka, Janne Kauttonen & Yevhen Hlushchuk (2018): “Narrative comprehension beyond language: Common brain networks activated by a movie and its script”

A young girl Nora stares shocked at her mother Anu. Anu stands expressionless by the kitchen table and scrapes the left-over spaghetti from Nora’s plate into a plastic bag. She places the plate into the bag and starts putting there other dining dishes, takes a firm hold of the bag and smashes it against the table. Nora is horrified: “Mother! What are you doing?. Anu continues smashing the bag without paying attention to her daughter. Nora begs her to stop. Anu collapses crying against the table top. Nora approaches, puts her arms around the crying mother and starts slowly caressing her hair.

The dramatic scene describes a daughter witnessing a nervous breakdown of her mother. Its narrative content remains the same should one read it in a textual form or viewed it as a movie. It is relatively well known how narratives are processed in the distinct human sensory cortices depending on the sensory input through which the narrative is perceived (reading, listening, viewing; [15]). However, far less is known of how the human brain processes meaningful narrative content independent of the media of presentation. To tackle this classical dichotomy issue between form and content in neuroimaging terms, we employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to provide new insights into brain networks relating to a particular narrative content while overlooking its form.

In the image Nora (actress Rosa Salomaa); director Saara Cantell, cinematography Marita Hällfors (F.S.C), producer Outi Rousu, Pystymetsä Oy, 2010.

Abstract

Narratives surround us in our everyday life in different forms. In the sensory brain areas, the processing of narratives is dependent on the media of presentation, be that in audiovisual or written form. However, little is known of the brain areas that process complex narrative content mediated by various forms. To isolate these regions, we looked for the functional networks reacting in a similar manner to the same narrative content despite different media of presentation. We collected 3-T fMRI whole brain data from 31 healthy human adults during two separate runs when they were either viewing a movie or reading its screenplay text. The independent component analysis (ICA) was used to separate 40 components. By correlating the components’ time-courses between the two different media conditions, we could isolate 5 functional networks that particularly related to the same narrative content. These TOP-5 components with the highest correlation covered fronto-temporal, parietal, and occipital areas with no major involvement of primary visual or auditory cortices. Interestingly, the top-ranked network with highest modality-invariance also correlated negatively with the dialogue predictor, thus pinpointing that narrative comprehension entails processes that are not language-reliant. In summary, our novel experiment design provided new insight into narrative comprehension networks across modalities.

Article “Screendance as enactment…” DATJournal Design Art and Technology

In this article Deren’s film At Land is analyzed as an expression of a human body-brain system situated and enactive within the world, with references to neuroscience, neurocinematic studies, and screendance.

TIKKA, Pia. Screendance as enactment in Maya Deren’s At Land. DATJournal Design Art and Technology, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 1, p. 9-28, june 2018. ISSN 2526-1789. First published in The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies Edited by Douglas Rosenberg,Aug 2016. Available  online here

Compassion Cultivation Training in Bio-Adaptive Virtual Environments Paris, CRI June 8

As part of the Frontiers du Vivant, Lynda Joy Gerry presented and defended her project “Compassion Cultivation Training in Bio-Adaptive Virtual Environments” at the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris. This project involves using perspective-taking in virtual environments using biofeedback relating to emotion regulation (heart rate variability) to manage the recovery from empathic distress. Empathic distress is conceived as a step in the empathic process towards the understanding of another person’s affective, bodily, and psychological state, but one that can lead to withdrawal and personal distress for the empathizer. Thus, this project implements instruction techniques adopted from Compassion Cultivation Training guided meditation practices cued by biofeedback to entrain better self-other boundaries and distinctions, as well as emotion regulation.

Lynda also participated in a workshop on VR and Empathy led by Philippe Bertrand from BeAnother Lab (BAL, The Machine to Be Another). See Philippe Bertrand TEDx talk “Standing in the shoes of the others with VR”

Hybrid Labs The Third Renewable Futures Conference

Hybrid Labs Symposium
The Third Renewable Futures Conference
May 30 – June 1, 2018, Aalto University, Otaniemi Campus

June 31 NeurocinemAtics on narrative experience

Hybrid Labs is the third edition of Renewable Futures conference that aims to challenge the future of knowledge creation through art and science. The HYBRID LABS took place from May 30 to June 1, 2018 at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland, in the context of Aalto Festival. Celebrating 50 years of Leonardo journal and community, the HYBRID LABS conference looked back into the history of art and science collaboration, with an intent to reconsider and envision the future of hybrid laboratories – where scientific research and artistic practice meet and interact.
http://hybridlabs.aalto.fi/hls2018-symposium/

Pia Tikka and Mauri Kaipainen:
Triadic epistemology of narrative experience

We consider the narrative experience as a triangular system of relations between narrative structure , narrative perspective , and physiological manifestations associated with both. The proposal builds on the fundamentally pragmatist idea that no two of these elements are enough to explain each other, but a third is always required to explicate the interpretative angle. Phenomenological accounts altogether reject the idea of objective descriptions of experience. At the same time, a holistic understanding must assume that a narrative is shared on some level, an assumption narratology must make, and that even individual experiences are also embodied, as is evident to neuroscientists observing brain activity evoked by narrative experience. It cannot be that these accounts are incompatible forever. Using these elements, we discuss a triadic epistemology, a mutually complementary knowledge construction system combining phenomenological, narratological and physiological angles in order to generate integrated knowledge about how different people experience particular narratives.

Our approach assumes a holistic, or even deeper, an enactive perspective to experiencing, that is, assuming systemic engagement in the embodied, social, and situational environmental processes. Consequently, we propose understanding narrative content needs to be analyzed not only based on subjective reports of theexperiencer, but they also need to be related to neurophysiological manifestations of the experience. Or, describing the associated neural activity during the viewing of a film is not enough to relate it to subjective reports of the viewers, but the observations also need to be interpreted to conventions of storytelling. A selection of cases are described to clarify the proposed triadic method.

Κeywords: neurophenomenology, narrative experience, narrative perspective, enactive theory of mind, epistemology

eFilm: Hyperfilms for basic and clinical research presented by
my aivoAALTO collaborator professor Mikko Sams showed highlights of neuroscience findings related to viewing films in fMRI and introduced the concept of eFilm, a novel computational platform for producing and easily modifying films to be used in basic and clinical research.

June 1 VR TALKS at Aalto Studios

VR Research Talks organised with Virtual Cinema Lab and FiVR Track dedicated on research in and around VR, with a focus on artistic praxes around sound, alternative narrations and the self.

Daniel Landau: Meeting Yourself in Virtual Reality and Self-Compassion
Self-reflection is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose, and essence. Between the internal process of Self-reflection to the external observation of one’s reflection – runs a thin line marking the relationship between the private-self and the public-self. From Narcissus’s pond, through reflective surfaces and mirrors, to current day selfies, the concepts of self, body-image and self-awareness have been strongly influenced by the human interaction with physical reflections. In fact, one can say that the evolution of technologies reproducing images of ourselves has played a major role in the evolution of the Self as a construct. With the current wave of Virtual-Reality (VR) technology making its early steps as a consumer product, we set out to explore the new ways in which VR technology may impact our concept of self and self-awareness. ‘Self Study’ aims to critically explore VR as a significant and novel component in the history and tradition of the complex relationship between technology and the Self (—).

See more on Daniel’s work here)