Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

ORIGINAL

Strange continuity: why our brains don’t explode at film cuts

7 minutes

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.

Director and Editor: Adam D’Arpino

Producer: Adam D’Arpino, Kellen Quinn

Writer: Jeffrey M Zacks

Narrator: Karl Miller

Animator: Ermina Takenova

Music: YACHT, Dave Depper

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Neuroscience
Freud in the scanner

A revival of interest in the power of introspection and thought has brought Freud’s ideas back into the scientific fold

M M Owen

Essay/Sexual Health
Afterglow

The intensity of orgasm is sublime, but the gentle love cocktail that follows is what helps relationships to endure

Tove K Danovich