Alfred Hitchcock & the undiscovered science of suspense

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McCormack, Cody (2017) Alfred Hitchcock & the undiscovered science of suspense. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Whether cheering the demise of a ruthless villain or crying in despair as a romantic couple is torn apart, ‘viewers seem to take inherent pleasure in strongly desiring various outcomes for the central characters of a narrative’ (Plantinga 2009, p. 31). Despite film practitioners striving to incite this desire and film theorists often fretting about its ability to bypass our moral compass, the origin of these passionate preferences has rarely been subjected to sustained investigation. In challenging folk accounts of our ‘predilections for narrative outcomes’ (Rapp & Gerrig, 2006), this thesis counters conventional wisdom of ‘rooting’ for narrative outcomes.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Education
Keywords filmmaking, cinema, theory, practice, narrative, moral suspense, moral bias, partiality, empathic identification, attachment, mirroring, emotional contagion, rooting, side-taking, immoral suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, Noel Carroll, Margrethe Bruun Vaage, Murray Smith
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