For millennia, we’d never seen anything like film cuts. How do we process them so easily?
Before the emergence and rapid proliferation of film editing at the dawn of the 20th century, humans had never been exposed to anything quite like film cuts: quick flashes of images as people, objects and entire settings changed in an instant. But rather than reacting with confusion to edits, early filmgoers lined up in droves to spend their money at the cinema, turning film – and eventually its close cousin, television – into the century’s defining media. It would seem that our evolutionary history did very little to prepare us for film cuts – so why don’t our brains explode when we watch movies? Adapted from an Aeon essay by the US psychologist and brain scientist Jeffrey M Zacks, this Aeon Video original explores why our visual experience has much more in common with film editing than it appears to at first glance.