There are compositional biases in works of art that have been documented in static images. This study extends the analysis to moving pictures. We examined eight films by four different directors (Ford, Leone, Kurosawa, Chahine), each with a male actor in the major role. These directors are also from different countries (USA, Italy, Japan, Egypt). The analysis focused on three compositional aspects: a) the orientation of the face of the actor (which cheek was visible), b) the position of the face within the image (positioned either to the left of the screen showing the left or right cheek or to the right of the screen showing the left or right cheek), and c) the movement of the actor within the scene (moving to the left or to the right). Unlike in paintings there is no evidence that the left cheek was visible more often than the right. However, we confirmed that position and facing direction are related, i.e. the actor tends to face toward the centre of the screen. With respect to the analyses of movement, there was a greater frequency of movements from left to right, and this may explain the lower than expected frequency of the left cheek. Interestingly, we found a cultural trend in that the pattern of results from Western directors did not extend to the films by Chahine, which may be influenced by reading direction.
CarrollN. and SeeleyW. (2013).
Neuroscience, psychology, and cognitivism: Movies as attentional engines in: Psychocinematics: The Aesthetic Science of MoviesShimamuraA. (Ed.) pp. 53–75. Oxford University PressOxford, UK.
ChokronS.KazandjianS.. and De AgostiniM. (2009).
Effects of reading habits on visuospatial organization: A critical review in: Quod Erat Demonstrandum: From Herodotus’ Ethnographic Journeys to Cross-Cultural ResearchGariA. and MylonasK. (Eds) pp. 107–114. Pedio BooksAthens, Greece.
DeLongJ. E.BrunickK. L. and CuttingJ. E. (2014).
Film through the human visual system: Finding patterns and limits in: The Social Science of CinemaKaufmanJ. C. and SimontonD. K. (Eds) pp. 123–137. Oxford University PressNew York, NY, USA.
HochbergJ. and BrooksV. (1996).
The perception of motion pictures in: Cognitive Ecology: Handbook of Perception and Cognition 2nd ed. M. P. Friedman and E. C. Carterette (Eds) pp. 205–278. Academic PressLondon, UK.
MarshT. and WrightP. (2000). Using cinematography conventions to inform guidelines for the design and evaluation of virtual off-screen space AAAI 2000 Spring Symposium. Series Smart Graphics Palo Alto CA USA pp. 123–127.
NichollsM. E. R. (2000).
Asymmetries in portraits: Insights from neuropsychology in: Side-Bias: A Neuropsychological PerspectiveMandalM. K.Bulman-FlemingM. B. and TiwariG. (Eds) pp. 313–329. Kluwer Academic PublishersAmsterdam, Netherlands
PalmerS. E. (1991). On goodness Gestalt groups and Garner: Local symmetry subgroups as a theory of figural goodness in: The Perception of Structure: Essays in Honor of Wendell R. GarnerLockheadG. and PomerantzJ. (Eds) pp. 23–40. American Psychological AssociationWashington, DC, USA.
SuitnerC. and McManusI. C. (2011).
Aesthetic asymmetries, spatial agency, and art history: A social psychological perspective in: Spatial Dimensions of Social ThoughtSchubertT. W. and MaassA. (Eds) pp. 277–301. De Gruyter MoutonBerlin, Germany.