Does speeding a movie up make it funnier?

In this study effects of film velocity on genre recognition were tested. “Happy reunion” film scenes were taken from comic, action, drama, and nonfiction genres. Their speed was varied to result in 3 levels: original velocity, acceleration by one third, and deceleration by one third. Fifty participants judged the fittingness of all scenes in each of the 4 genres. Velocity proved to be an effective parameter in the recognition of the comical and dramatic genres but not of the action and nonfiction genres. As predicted, when a scene belonging to any genre was decelerated, participants judged the scene as belonging more to the dramatic genre (p < .01) and less to the comic genre (p < .01). Acceleration of a scene belonging to any genre increased its comical fittingness (p < .05). The role of prototypicality of scenes in the interaction with velocity turned out to be only modest. In a few cases genre crossings (i.e., confusing a scene’s genre with another in recognition) resulted from velocity manipulations of nonprototypical but not prototypical scenes.

Source: “Effect of Film Velocity on Genre Recognition” from Media Psychology, Volume 9, Issue 1 May 2007 , pages 59 – 75

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