Sound and moving pictures share over a century of entwined history yet the dominant
visual narrative accounts of cinematic sound lack explanatory power. This thesis
responds by developing a novel conceptual framework using the paradigm of embodied
cognition. An embodied cognition approach provides a means to analyse the functional
architecture, meaning-making capacities, and aesthetics of cinematic media in ways not
afforded by conventional media theory.
The framework deploys embodied simulation theory (Gallese 2005) to emphasise the
affective aspects of Feeling of Body (Wojciehowski & Gallese 2011) and puts into play
the concept of embodied meaning (Johnson, M 2007b) which asserts all human meaning
and abstract conceptual thinking have basis in our sensorimotor interactions with the
world. In the context of cinematic media, embodied simulation theory suggests the
stylistic crafting of sensory-perceptual content not only elicits affect but shapes
cognition. Specifically, a four-tiered conceptual framework is advanced using embodied
simulation theory to contain, integrate and structure three extant models for the
elicitation or representation of affect at discrete levels of description. A strength of the
four-tiered framework is a highly granular and scalable capacity to describe how
cinematic sound may produce embodied meaning.
To illustrate the explanatory power of an embodied simulation account of cinematic
media, I examine the design strategies used in my own cinematic sound work –
specifically, Jane Campion’s In the Cut (2003) – and the work of other sound designers.
Lastly, the implications of an embodied simulation account of cinematic media are
discussed in relation to investigating the body-mind nexus, bridging the cognitive
sciences and Cultural Studies, and informing institutions involved in media education
and cultural policy.
|Date of Award||2020|
|Supervisor||Ross Gibson (Supervisor) & Mitchell Whitelaw (Supervisor)|