Filmmakers have a secret weapon to manipulate our memories and emotions when watching their movies. According to researchers, tunes are strategically placed throughout films to help viewers recall a scene's actions, characters, and finale outcomes. This clever technique ensures that certain scenes, even years later, remain vivid in the minds of movie-goers.
The power of music in films goes beyond just enhancing the viewing experience. Psychology experts have found that the right music is essential in movie trailers as filmmakers only have a few minutes to captivate the audience and convince them that their movie is worth watching. In fact, music has become so ingrained in our cinematic experience that it can create false memories, as indicated by studies conducted by Libby Damjanovic and her team at Lund University.
In their experiment, participants watched a comedic trailer accompanied by either happy or sad music. Surprisingly, the group that watched the trailer with sad music or incongruent conditions showed a recognition memory advantage for visual tests over the other group. This phenomenon, known as mood-incongruency, suggests that emotionally incongruent stimuli trigger more memories than emotionally congruent ones.
It is important to note that these effects are relatively short-lived, with their impact beyond the few minutes of a movie trailer or a film scene yet to be fully determined. However, they are informed by our previous experiences and stored in our long-term memory, ready to be triggered by the next plot twist.
Examples of this technique can be found in movies such as "Reservoir Dogs" and "Face/Off," where violent scenes are juxtaposed with mismatched music, creating a lasting impression on the audience. Additionally, successful musical scores often involve earworms—catchy songs that stick in our minds. When paired with a movie sequence, these fresh takes on old hits help keep audiences entertained and engaged.
One such example is the trailer for the 2008 film "Iron Man," which quickly captures viewers' attention with the iconic song "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath. The combination of the electric guitar and Tony Stark's thrilling desert drive exemplifies how music can make a seemingly ordinary scene exciting.
Overall, the strategic use of music in films not only enhances viewers' emotions but also plays a crucial role in shaping their memories. Filmmakers are constantly exploring ways to captivate audiences in a short amount of time, and music has proven to be a powerful tool in achieving this goal. As we continue to indulge in cinematic experiences, it is important to recognize and appreciate the impact that music has on shaping our perception of movies.