The audiovisual process of creating evidence – science television imagining the brain
In this paper, we look at three audiovisual staging strategies deployed by science television programs which contribute to the popularization of neuroscientific research. In three exemplary case studies we describe how the aesthetic staging of audiovisual images can shape the bodily, affective and cognitive processes of spectators. We assume that what becomes graspable as the meaning of a scientific argument is the result of spectators following and understanding the explanations given, while being highly emotionally engaged through the aesthetic composition. We have identified three levels that commonly shape the understanding process of spectators in science TV: (1) the explanatory dimension, the rhetorical and dramaturgical structure at the center of which stands a depicted brain scan that is described by a scientist. (2) the orchestration of the spectator's feelings by deploying an array of aesthetic strategies common to fictional films. (3) the way audiovisual images direct the spectator's process of thinking and understanding by using multimodal metaphors. What is experienced in these television formats as the meaning construction of scientific evidence is not the visualization of the brain itself and its explanation, but something that emerges through the audiovisual staging and the accompanying speech: a multimodal gesture of supposed proof, creating the felt impression of evidence and credibility.
Brückner, R. , Greifenstein, S. (2019)., The audiovisual process of creating evidence – science television imagining the brain, in H. Fangerau (ed.), Handbook of popular culture and biomedicine, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 157-178.
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