Why do so many of us cry at the movies? Why do we flinch when Rocky Balboa takes a punch, duck when the jet careens toward the tower in “Airplane,” and tap our toes to the dance numbers in “Chicago” or “Moulin Rouge”?
How is it that a patch of light flickering on a wall can produce experiences that not only engage our imaginations but that feel totally real? What’s really happening in our brains as we immerse ourselves in the lives being acted out on screen?
These are the questions Washington University in St. Louis neuroscientist Jeffrey M. Zacks, PhD, explores in his new book, “Flicker: Your Brain on Movies” (Oxford University Press 2014), an entertaining and thought-provoking look at what science can tell us about the art of filmmaking.