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Open Access Movies and meaning: from low-level features to mind reading

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When dealing with movies, closing the tremendous discontinuity between low-level features and the richness of semantics in the viewers' cognitive processes, requires a variety of approaches and different perspectives. For instance when attempting to relate movie content to users' affective responses, previous work suggests that a direct mapping of audio-visual properties into elicited emotions is difficult, due to the high variability of individual reactions. To reduce the gap between the objective level of features and the subjective sphere of emotions, we exploit the intermediate representation of the connotative properties of movies: the set of shooting and editing conventions that help in transmitting meaning to the audience. One of these stylistic feature, the shot scale, i.e. the distance of the camera from the subject, effectively regulates theory of mind, indicating that increasing spatial proximity to the character triggers higher occurrence of mental state references in viewers' story descriptions. Movies are also becoming an important stimuli employed in neural decoding, an ambitious line of research within contemporary neuroscience aiming at "mindreading". In this field we address the challenge of producing decoding models for the reconstruction of perceptual contents by combining fMRI data and deep features in a hybrid model able to predict specific video object classes.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 29, 2017

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