Lunchtime Talk
Fri 14 Jul 2017 14:00-15:00 at Pervasive Media Studio

Experimental psychology in Cinema using Mobile Technologies

This talk will discuss how attention, immersion and engagement can be studied  within the cinema, using mobile technologies.

By Assianir (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cinema audience on smart phones


Stephen Hinde

Dr Stephen J. Hinde is a researcher studying the experience of immersion while watching media, within the Bristol Vision Institute, University of Bristol. His doctral thesis was entitled Attention While Watching Movies. He also has over 25 years of research and development experience in  computer scientist. He held a senior research position at HP Labs, where he was one of the co-creaters of the iconic SE3D project with Watershed, and he was Architect at IBM AIX team in Austin, Texas. He is also poly-math, who is interested in the coincidence of the stream of attention, immersion, and film.

What is attention to media, and how it can be measured with reference to theory and experiments? This talk will discuss how attention, immersion and engagement can be studied  within the cinema, using mobile technologies.

Studies of film and media experience have been carried out by psychologists and neuroscientists within the laboratory setting over recent years, creating the new disciplines of neurocinematics, and psychocinematics. However, the potential lack of invariance between  laboratory and real-world  has been a cause for concern. In 2009 a landmark study comparing immersion while watching Avatar using a paper and pencil method was pioneered between University of Bristol and Watershed.

Through recent advances in pervasive technologies, mobile devices and mobile sensors, conducting experiments outside the laboratory is becoming easier. It is now possible to conduct experiments on attention within the cinema, within the home or indeed anywhere. The whole world then becomes 'the laboratory'. During the recent Helsinki 2017 Society of Cognitive Study of Moving Image Conference, we conducted a demonstration of an audience experiment with iPhone apps, using a BFI short film. It is proposed that we will run an audience experiment on attention here at Watershed within the cinema.

Attention to media is not only applicable to film, but to virtual reality, augmented reality and any experience of attending to a prolonged experience, such as this talk.

This Lunchtime Talk is part of Open Studio Friday, which takes place at the Studio every week.

NOTE: this is the last Lunchtime Talk and Open Studio Friday before the summer break. The programme will resume on Friday 3 September 2017.

Do you want to find out what is going on at the Pervasive Media Studio? Are you interested in meeting our residents, talking about a specific project or curious about pervasive media? Why not pack a sandwich and join us for one of our Lunchtime Talks and Open Studio Friday.

Lunchtime Talks are informal presentations by Studio residents and associates. They normally take place at 1pm on Friday, are free and open to everybody who’s interested in what we do.

After the Talk, we also invite you to stay with us for the afternoon to continue the conversation or work on your own projects. We provide chairs, tables, wireless and a great space. You bring what you need to work with (laptop/mobile). Our open afternoons close at 5pm.

Let us know if you’d like a tour of the space and we'll be happy to show you around just before the talk. Send an email to to book your place on a tour.

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Lunchtime talks coming online soon

Fri 3 Apr 13:00-14:00

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Past Events

If you are interested in previous events at the Studio, take a look at our events archive.