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The psychology of the film as a subdiscipline of academic psychology really took off in the late 1970s. Münsterberg’s broad agenda that had been scattered across isolated studies of mainly movement perception regained general acclaim. This was due first to the booming supply and consumption of moving images through media television and computer-generated imagery since the 60s. Second, the cognitive turn in experimental psychology renewed an interest in perception and cognition as it occurs in natural ecologies. This is the backdrop against which James Gibson () noted the virtual absence of a psychology of the moving image, motivating his chapter on the film experience. The chapter was important in that it applied his highly influential ecological principles of perception of real world scenes to perception in the cinema. Gibson’s general theory of visual perception (e.g., Gibson, ) hinges on the notion that the visual system has evolved to extract relevant information from the world in a direct fashion. A scene presents itself to the observer as an ambient optical array that immediately and physically reflects the structure of the real world. Changes and transitions in the flow of the optical array are due to natural causes such as alternations of lighting intensity of the scene, e.g., due to clouds, or movement of objects in the scene or of the observer. These variations in the optical flow enable the automatic pick-up of invariants. Example invariants are the change in size of portions in the array, and the density of texture in that portion when the observer gets closer to, or farther away from the object. Footnote 24 The changes in these parameters are linked with depth-information in a way that is constant across different scenes, observer speeds, lighting conditions, etc. Invariants enable the direct perception of the real world in the service of adaptive action. Disturbances of the optic flow can automatically be perceived as events. The events are categorised on the basis of the nature of the disturbances, e.g., as terrestrial, animate, or chemical events. Furthermore, the direct tuning of the perceptual senses to the structures of the environment enable an immediate perception of affordances , for example the slope of a hill causes the direct perception of 'climbability'.

The experience of motion pictures according to Gibson involves a dynamic optical flow exactly like the one an observer would have when being present at the filmed scene. Novica Sterling silver dangle earrings Turtle of the Sea lXSb1cA3l
Film represents the world to the senses that are calibrated to that world. The field of view of the camera becomes the optic array to the viewer (Gibson, , p. 298). Perception of objects, movement, events and affordances is direct and realist, based as it is on the same invariants and affordances that the scene in the real world would offer. Deviations from these as emphasised by cognitivist film psychologists from Münsterberg through Arnheim to Hochberg as we will shortly see, are largely taken as non-representative exceptions.

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By Paul Schiff Berman

Mr. Berman is a professor atGeorge Washington University Law School.


Almost immediately after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, Senate Democrats argued that his replacement should not be confirmed until after the midterm elections this fall — a version of the same argument that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, used to stymie President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016.

This is surely a valid argument, not least because Mr. McConnell’s blatantly anti-democratic ploy stole a judicial appointment from a popularly elected president and gave it to one who lost the popular vote by millions.

But there is another reason to withhold confirmation that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on: People under the cloud of investigation do not get to pick the judges who may preside over their cases. By this logic, President Trump should not be permitted to appoint a new Supreme Court justice until after the special counsel investigation is over, and we know for sure whether there is evidence of wrongdoing.

True, that point is unlikely to stop Mr. McConnell or his colleagues. But it highlights the real risk involved in letting a deeply compromised president shape a court that may one day stand between him and impeachment.



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