Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
The use of artistic media (e.g., books, films) to elevate Theory of Mind (ToM) has recently opened the door to exploring new ways to deliver effective, accessible therapies for neurodiverse populations. This paper explored the potential for shot chronology and shot length of films to serve as factors which may influence ToM activation. An online, nationwide study was administered (n = 128) in which participants viewed one of four film stimuli then subsequently took a measure of ToM. Additionally, college students (n = 32) participated in an identical, in-person version of the study so that neural correlates of ToM, namely mu rhythm, could be obtained through EEG recordings. An abridged version of the Author Recognition Test (ART) was also administered to each participant at the beginning of the study to test for a baseline ToM. It was found that non-chronological shots produced more mu rhythm suppression, indicative of higher ToM activation, than chronological shots (p = .039). It was additionally confirmed that higher scores on the ART were associated with higher scores on the RMET (p < .001). Unfortunately, there was no significant difference between RMET scores based on stimulus condition in any substudy. These findings suggest that while relationships may exist between structural aspects of film and ToM, study design limitations and viability of the ToM measure used may have impacted the current study’s findings. Thus, more research is needed to explore the potential for an accessible alternative to conventional therapies for this crucial social skill that governs human development and happiness.
Sreeram, Aravind, "Structurally-Aware Films' Impact on Theory of Mind" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1970.
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