Information Services banner Edinburgh Research Archive The University of Edinburgh crest

Edinburgh Research Archive >
Informatics, School of >
Informatics thesis and dissertation collection >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1842/1076

This item has been viewed 828 times in the last year. View Statistics

Files in This Item:

File Description SizeFormat
smith_ATOCE_0506.pdf3.06 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
Title: An Attentional Theory of Continuity Editing
Authors: Smith, Tim J
Supervisor(s): Pain, Helen
Lee, John
Issue Date: Jun-2006
Publisher: University of Edinburgh. College of Science and Engineering. School of Informatics.
Abstract: The intention of most film editing is to create the impression of continuous action (“continuity”) by presenting discontinuous visual information. The techniques used to achieve this, the continuity editing rules, are well established yet there exists no understanding of their cognitive foundations. This thesis attempts to correct this oversight by proposing that “continuity” is actually what perceptual and developmental psychologists refer to as existence constancy (Michotte, 1955): “the experience that objects persist through space and time despite the fact that their presence in the visual field may be discontinuous” (Butterworth, 1991). The main conclusion of this thesis is that continuity editing ensures existence constancy by creating conditions under which a) the visual disruption created by the cut does not capture attention, b) existence constancy is assumed, and c) expectations associated with existence constancy are accommodated after the cut. Continuity editing rules are shown to identify natural periods of attention withdrawal that can be used to hide cuts. A reaction time study shows that one such period, a saccadic eye movement, occurs when an object is occluded by the screen edge. This occlusion has the potential to create existence constancy across the cut. After the cut, the object only has to appear when and where it is expected for it to be perceived as continuing to exist. This spatiotemporal information is stored in a visual index (Pylyshyn, 1989). Changes to the object’s features (stored in an object file; Kahneman, Treisman, & Gibbs, 1992), such as those caused by the cut, will go unnoticed. A duration estimation study shows that these spatiotemporal expectations distort due to the attention withdrawal. Continuity editing rules show evidence of accommodating these distortions to create perceived continuity from discontinuous visual information. The outcome of this thesis is a scientific understanding of filmic continuity. This permits filmmakers greater awareness of the perceptual consequences of their editing decisions. It also informs cognitive scientists of the potential of film as an analogue for real-world perception that exposes the assumptions, limitations, and constraints imposed upon our perception of reality.
Description: Institute for Communicating and Collaborative Systems
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1842/1076
Appears in Collections:Informatics thesis and dissertation collection

Items in ERA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Valid XHTML 1.0! Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh 2013, and/or the original authors. Privacy and Cookies Policy