Chaos theory explains why films are compelling

Boffins on a film break have worked out a mathematical formula as to why a film is compelling to watch, even if it is pants.

It apparently has nothing to do with the actors, plot, or lighting but a ratio connected to chaos theory.

Dr. James Cutting, a cognitive psychologist from Cornell University studied over 150 films from the past 70 years, to find out what makes a great flick and which ones we will nod off in the middle.

He started making the study after watching a flick and wondering why he was watching such a dumb movie.

Cutting worked out that it was the pace of the movie which he was finding engaging.

Throughout film, like the golden ratio Renaissance painters and architects praised so highly, there may be a mathematics underlying film making.

He found it in something called the 1/f pattern in chaos theory.

It is a rhythm that appears throughout nature – in music, economics and elsewhere. It pretty well describes attention patterns.

If you apply it to movies you end up looking at the shot lengths throughout the duration of a film against the average shot length within the film.

In a study published in Psychological Science, found individual films from every genre that have almost perfect 1/f rhythms. “The Perfect Storm,”, “Rebel Without a Cause,” and “The 39 Steps.”

Modern films are generally closer to the ration

But modern films’ proximity to this ratio doesn’t mean you’re going to like them you just end up watching them.

He thinks that Hollywood films will evolve toward a structure that more generally matches the 1/f patterns found elsewhere in physics, biology, culture, and the mind.