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James E. Cutting

Susan Linn Sage Professor of Psychology

Departments/Programs

  • Psychology

Graduate Fields

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Visual Studies

Research

My current interests are in popular movies as a representative medium of popular culture. Aside from simply enjoying “flicking out,” my scientific interest in cinema is as a tool to understand the constraints under which the human visual and cognitive systems evolved. I argue that the vast cultural significance of cinema, and its considerably different structure from what we see during, say, a stroll through the real world, provides insights into the underpinnings of the organization of our minds. Since we did not evolve to look at cinema, and since it arguably “evolved” to fit what we can easily digest, the change in its structure over the last 125 years can suggest what our visual and cognitive systems did, and did not, evolve to see.

Courses