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Relations Between the Mind and the Validity of Opinions Regarding Entertainment?
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Kreekakon Offline
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Post: #1
Relations Between the Mind and the Validity of Opinions Regarding Entertainment?

Hello everyone. This is an issue that has been on my mind for many many years now, but have never really had an actual discussion about with anyone else nor heard their views about it. It is something that in a broad enough stroke can be applied to all sorts of artistic entertainment.

Next this is a HUGE disclaimer that I want to get out of the way before I begin talking about the main subject: If at ANY point at all in my thread you start to think I sound condescending, I must emphasize that it is not my intention at all. I am legitimately interested in the relationship between opinions and the human mind and how such a relationship might potentially make some claims more truthful than others. This thread may seem condescending extremely easily because in a more informal way of putting it, "You didn't notice, but your brain did" will be a constant underlying theme throughout this topic.

Here is the main subject that bothers me as concisely as I can say it:

It should be no mystery to anyone that the human mind responds to certain stimulus in different ways. Certain actions towards us make us happy while other actions may make us angry. Continuing off this thought though, wouldn't that likely mean how much we "enjoy" a show is also a response to the human mind responding to certain stimulus that make us like a show or not? If this is truly the case wouldn't it also mean that when we "respond" to a show's plot, imagery, or presentation that it is also our brains choosing to respond emotionally to them how the human mind chooses to based on its psychology? Would this also mean that some views on a shows quality are more objectively true than others simply because of how human minds respond to the stimulus it offers?

To elaborate a slight amount more here's an example: a commonly seen praise of a good show is that it is able to make us care about the characters and what happens to them throughout the course of a show. But here's the interesting part: What makes human beings care about characters who are just images on a screen? The straightforward answer is that the show shows us aspects of the character that we deem relatable/likeable which eventually evolves into an attachment to the characters. The underlying implication of this is that there is a certain combination of actions that can be taken by the show to produce this effect of "care". A even further implication to this one is that it can even be analyzed as to why a show failed or succeeded to do this based on the combination of actions it took (Or lack thereof) to try and achieve this effect.

This is already seen in a practical sense regarding the very concept of "cute" in a show's presentation. The concept of cute in a biological sense is the human mind having a specific mental response to things that have babylike features with such responses usually being a desire to care for it. You can read more about the concept on Wikipedia if you do not know about it yet. This has been exploited in many many ways by using babylike features in characters to spur the sense of care for the character in general and invoke a charmed feeling. What makes something cute is a very often explored field and a consensus for what sort of facial features or features in general invoke the response is mostly agreed upon. It simply cannot be said that something which does not possess the features of the "cute" consensus is cute because it goes against what researchers in the field have turned up from their studies. Some features simply are cute to the human mind while others are not.

So coming back to critical analysis of shows. As of current I don't think that psychological research has come quite far enough to pin down a consensus for what "elements" in story telling objectively create a better experience than other ones based off of the science of the human brain. Even if it hasn't though, just humor the thought for a moment: If research DOES eventually come far enough, and a mathematical equation does appear which can accurately pin down how engaging a story will be based off of research on what each of the story's elements will do to the human mind, then does that mean certain opinions can no longer exist? Would it eventually be deemed that someone who has a evaluation of a show that differs too much from the scientific one be called a liar who is ignoring what their brain tells them?

Hints of there being a consensus on a show's quality can be seen in things like large movie reviews. While there are a great amount of differing opinions, there always seems to be a large majority of people who think of it similarly.

Of course, a main thing that can be said against this which prevents there from being truly a objectively correct analysis is that people are all different. While we do operate off of the same general body framework, many things differ such as personality and life experiences. These things may very well also be things which contribute to a person's view on something and makes it different from others.

However I also don't think this doesn't mean that there is some sort of constant in the human mind's response to certain elements in a narrative. I think there are definitely aspects in a show which are very objective based on how our minds are rigged to respond to it, just like with the concept of cuteness. It's definitely not everything in a show since variance in certain things can exist for differing personalities and life experiences I mentioned before, but I think there definitely do exist things our minds objectively find more pleasant in a narrative.

So the tl;dr of this whole thing is basically the first paragraph of my thread as below:

Quote:It should be no mystery to anyone that the human mind responds to certain stimulus in different ways. Certain actions towards us make us happy while other actions may make us angry. Continuing off this thought though, wouldn't that likely mean how much we "enjoy" a show is also a response to the human mind responding to certain stimulus that make us like a show or not? If this is truly the case wouldn't it also mean that when we "respond" to a show's plot, imagery, or presentation that it is also our brains choosing to respond emotionally to them how the human mind chooses to based on its psychology? Would this also mean that some views on a shows quality are more objectively true than others simply because of how human minds respond to the stimulus it offers?

Again I want to emphasize that I'm not actively looking to be condescending at all since the notion of how our brain reacts to something seemingly subjective like a show's quality can potentially be objective based on psychology is extremely intriguing for me to think about.

So what are your thoughts on this? I'd really like to hear what other people think regarding this topic.

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07-16-2016 06:33 PM
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Daemian Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Relations Between the Mind and the Validity of Opinions Regarding Entertainment?

I think entertainment is basically providing someone an experience. In any way or method you want, a simple joke, a movie, a tale. And cause the audience or receptors emotions, which will determine whether they liked what they experienced from it or not, based on their personality, beliefs, preferences. Preference is something deeply connected with someone as individual. And yours can be disturbing to me or totally empathize.
So I think there is no mathematical result in this, because it is something that varies too much from person to person and you can only get close to a result but never reach it.
I guess it's like trying to tell a joke without hurting anyone.

07-16-2016 09:03 PM
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Radiance Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Relations Between the Mind and the Validity of Opinions Regarding Entertainment?

(07-16-2016 06:33 PM)Kreekakon Wrote:  What makes human beings care about characters who are just images on a screen?

If this wasn't retorical question, I'll answer it.

If we take case of CGI game characters on screen.
A small part of mirror neurons in our brain, which are responsible we percive reality as it is,
can adopt motion on screen and make a logical gate NOT which represents that is not a real person on the screen.

But, what is notable at children is they can't yet make that logical gate and they really think it's a real person and they behave that way. Probably because this small amount of neurons have not yet evolved.
They cry if they see cartoon or game character getting hurt.


If we take case of real character whether on screen or not
Answer lies here





If we take case of screen character who represent real person
Mirror neurons are computing double logical NOT gate:
*don't take him as a real character because it's a CGI
*don't take him as a CGI character because it represents a real person in life
NOT NOT = YES
07-17-2016 05:21 PM
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Red Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Relations Between the Mind and the Validity of Opinions Regarding Entertainment?

It is all about dopamine and each invidual gets their dose from differend things. We get emotionally invested in characters we like and can relate to, and that's due to dopamine. They might be an amusing fellow, realistic fellow, clever fellow, sexy, - anything that pleases us to some extent, anything than entertains. These properties stimulate our pinal gland, which results in dopamine, which results in pleasure. And when we see our source of delight disappear, we get a dose of hormones that affect the emotional side. All in all, this is not very much differend from real life affection. You got to know a character, grow to like it and in some cases even grow to love it. Although, one should be aware there's glass in between and the character may not be real. But this is another thing. I am merely explaining how I'd put that propensity.
07-17-2016 11:26 PM
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Lenie Offline
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RE: Relations Between the Mind and the Validity of Opinions Regarding Entertainment?

We as humans have evolved the ability to create scenarios in our head and experience them (imagination). That way we can predict how a situation will work out so we can avoid errors. Fiction simply plays into that.

Experiences are made up by the brain wich are greatly influenced by our DNA and then further molded by the enviroment. The way your brain is molded determines how you will response toward certain stimuli. So somethings will be more universally responded too by people who live(d) in the same enviroments or have similar genes.

I don't think something can be objectively 'cute', but there can be 'the experience of cuteness'. We can for example objectively measure that 90% of people have a 'cuteness response' to small nosed, large eyed and big foreheaded faces. But that doesn't make the face cute, its just that on average most people will respond with 'the experience of cuteness'. Its all about the way someone's brain is wired, if we find that out we can adjust the right stimuli and have the responses we want to give them.
07-20-2016 05:29 PM
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