Do visual narratives cause real emotional experiences in viewers, or do they cause experiences which are merely like emotions

A visual narrative is basically a film, and the most popular visual narratives happen to be Hollywood fictional blockbusters. Of these, the films that earn much in terms of money and acclaim do so for a variety of reasons such as the actors, the directors, the special effects, and, though subtly, the emotional rollercoaster that spectators experience yet tend to take for granted.
In the title question, it is implied that there are two possible types of viewers emotional response to a film real emotional experiences or experiences that are only similar to emotion. Happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, and wonder are just some of the emotions that viewers experience in films. Sometimes, films even produce physical responses from the viewer such as laughing, crying, jumping (in fear), and smiling. Emotion is a cognitive and physical response to some mental or physical stimulation it is causal and directed toward specific objects. Thus, for an emotion to be genuine, it must come from the viewer herselfhimself as a cognitive process and a real reaction caused by any object or event.
Moreover, eliciting these genuine emotions is important for a film, because emotional engagement of the audience is vital for the films financial and critical success. There are, in particular, viewers who like going out to watch films to experience that heightened sense of emotions, possibly as a temporary escape from reality or simply for entertainment. They want to experience extreme emotions without the baggage of having to experience the events that cause those emotions in their actual lives. However, since fictional films consist of fake characters and events, it is interesting that viewers are able to become so emotionally involved with these fictional creations. The question here now lies in how viewers develop this emotional engagement what causes this.
To answer this question, first, a look at visual narratives in general. Narrators are fictional characters in a fictional world and are important to stories in print and in film. In fact, fiction is defined as an imaginative form of narrative (w1). In a film, though there may be no actual speaking narrator, as opposed to the ever-present tone of the author of a novel for example, the filmmaker takes the role of a silent narrator, guiding the audience through the point of view heshe wishes to convey. The films silent narrator tells the story by representing the events and characters visually. The flow of a narrative is assisted by the visualisation of characters and events. Viewers consciously follow the narrator throughout the storyline and thus, a film is the vehicle of narration (NNpg5).

Viewers visually follow a film by emotionally attaching themselves to the characters and events from a third persons view of a narrative. The narrative assists the way the film functions as it affects the concerns of the audiences (JL pg8). The audience is the all seeing eye and the narrative sets up the framework for their reactions. The effects of narrative communication form this framework, which is a preferred set of cognitive, evaluative, and emotional responses to a story (NN pg86). This framework will influence the response of the audience to the story, its characters and events (NN pg86).

Filmmakers, as the narrators, typically have this framework embedded into all aspects of the films narrative. As a rule, films must have protagonists, antagonists, and a good storyline between them. On top of that, film in itself is a unique form of aesthetic. Film is characterized as aesthetic because of the emotional impact involved and the number of arts that are integrated into the making a film. Theatre, photography, art painting, art sculpturing, and story-telling all these need to meld together to form the visual narrative and each contains an element of the main framework. The visual on film can be just casual details, such as character clothing, but even these can also be important in forwarding the storyline (NN12 pg 18). The visual elements are representations of the fictional. The purpose of aesthetics or arts is to inflict some emotional impact on its viewers or audience. Filmmakers aim to provoke some reaction from the audience and sometimes this is a specific emotion, such as fear in horror films. Filmmakers know that when this reaction is elicited, they have communicated their film successfully according to their aim. This emotional response indicates the success of their visual narrative. Andre Bazin emphasized that filmmakers should aim to evoke this emotion more than anything else in film.

However, in pursuance of this goal, the elements within the fictional events and characters in the visual narrative need to seem familiar and probable to the viewers to have more impact. Fictional narrative content is what is true in that story. However, some philosophers argue that viewers emotional responses to fictional films are make-believe, while others argue that there is nothing wrong with the emotional responses to films as they try so hard to successfully create a belief that everything onscreen is real(iep).
The purpose of this dissertation is to analyse arguments that deal simply with the connection between film and emotion. The dissertation will deal with how fictional films invoke emotions in the spectator, particularly, the connection of this emotional engagement that the spectator experiences to the fictional in the visual narrative. Initially, the goal is to determine the cause of emotional response to fiction and how the type of emotional response experienced can be assessed. Fiction deals with characters and events that are not real yet they fit into a visual narrative like a hand into a glove. Spectators know fiction is make-believe or not real yet they still react emotionally to films. Ultimately, the goal is to determine whether this response is genuine emotion or quasi-emotion. This paper begun with the categorizing of film as a visual narrative, not only because this is literally its description, but also because of the potential impact it has in this form on causing emotions or something similar. To summarize, this dissertation deals with the cause of the spectators emotional responses to fictional films and the determination of whether these responses are actually real emotional experiences or experiences that are merely like emotion.
Arguments by Kendall Walton, Greg Currie, Noel Carroll, and Murray Smith will be analysed. Philosophers of film suggest that the reason viewers are so emotionally engaged in films is because the films get them to imagine things taking place, things people care about (seop). The layout will be split into three sections. Noel Carrolls argument of pre-focusing and assimilation are dealt with in the first section, as well as Murray Smiths theory of sympathy under identification. In the second section, both Kendall Walton and Greg Curries arguments about make believe will be tackled. Each argument has its own content use of make believe. In order to come to a fair decision as to which type of emotional response is evoked, the arguments for each emotional response will be presented and analysed. In the conclusion, the arguments that are the most convincing will be stated, and they will be compared and contrasted together according to the type of emotional response. Finally, at the end of the paper, which cause holds truest of the decided type of spectators emotional experience will be presented. Two arguments are used in each of the following sections because each compliments the other in order to round-up their support for that emotional experience.

Reasons for arguing that visual narratives cause real emotional responses
In this, part, Carrolls main argument will be re-iterated as thus emotional responses to films follow the same pattern of response to everyday situations through thought theory as such, it will be argued that this stance implies that the viewers experience real emotional responses to fictional films. Even though certain emotions occur through manipulation on the part of the filmmaker, the production of these emotions on the part of the view still requires the same process and beliefs. Then, Carolls thought theory will be integrated into the discussion. Lastly, the argument will touch upon the supporting concept of Murray Smiths definition of identification that includes the dominant theory sympathy as a sub-class.
Many philosophers argue that viewers experience genuine emotion in fictional films. Emotions are cognitive and, while they might not necessarily inflict physical reactions, they are surely always directed towards some intended object. In the context of the discussion, it is taken as an assumption that these intended objects are usually the characters or images in a fictional narrative. Now these fictional elements may not be real in actual reality, but they can very well be considered real in objective reality. In objective reality, abstract entities have existence and are conceived as entities composed of certain properties. In the objective reality of ones mind, fictional entities can exist, if only as an abstract entity. However, viewers can then correlate the physical version of the entity to the abstract one. This entity can also be a thought or an emotional focus meaning that when audiences cry in visual narratives, they really do mean to cry, whether for the characters situation or in sympathy with the character himself. For example, at the end of King Kong, many people cried for the loss of the ape and in Titanic, they pitied Rose when Jack died.

Something onscreen is needed for viewers to hold interest in the film (PFMP NC pg218), and this implies the emotional investment that viewers experience. Some emotional reactions are unknown to the viewers as the reactions are quick and unconsciously produced, but they do experience them. This is because films can emphasize certain details that guide the viewer along the narrative to ensure they perceive more efficiently than everyday events (pg214 PFM). When the viewers emotional engagement intensifies, their emotional states control perception by delving into the film and call attention to pertinent features of the film that further the reigning emotional state (PFM 221). This allows the viewer to organise details and emotionally follow the physical form of the object easily.
Noel Carroll believes that certain film genres take advantage of this mechanism to induce specific emotions. The concept of pre-focusing is a critical process by which filmmakers fix narrative events to be familiar, such that it will elicit certain emotional responses. These visual narratives mimic and manipulate the actual world to produce these responses. They usually help carry a story along easily, the same way that an author uses certain words and expressions to allow a certain tone to permeate a novel.  Obviously, if the aim of a film is to induce certain emotions and they do occur in most audiences, then the film has caused the genuine emotional response expected for the presented situation. For example, in horror movies like Drag Me to Hell, the filmmakers designed the demon to repulse and scare the audience. The storyline also creates tensions and anxiety within the audience as the film nears the end, for they become more concerned about where and how the narrative will end. Pre-focusing produces this concern for the outcome of the narrative or for the characters themselves (w2).

The desired effect of pre-focusing is that audiences react emotionally to the fictional elements of a film as if the fictional elements of the film were real. This reaction may be momentary though, such that after a certain flaw in a character is presented, a bout of bad acting perhaps, the audience suddenly realise it is fake. Audience members may also have nightmares for days or feel an adrenaline rush after watching a film. All audiences need is to be able to believe certain factors and information of the film in order to connect with it.
In a similar way, films can induce emotions when implicit and explicit inferences by the audience let them interact more with the film and retain their interest. Implicit inferences allow for open emotional responses. In a visual narrative for example, the story does not always explicitly say that the character is in love with some person audiences must be able to interpret certain signs, form beliefs for themselves, or effectively imagine the situation as it would stand in real life. This way of inferring comes naturally to people in real life situations, the only difference is that films localise the viewers attention to specific information the idea of unrequited love suggested by the lingering shot of a longing look, for example. Once audiences believe an implied fictional element to be true because they inferred it, it becomes easier for them to invest themselves into the story to produce emotion.
Again, viewers only need to think something to influence emotional responses. They can find themselves experiencing emotional responses by imagining or from being led to believe that certain things are the case (sccn). While the latter has been discussed as an effect of pre-focusing, the former is based on the fact that the mere content of ones thoughts can elicit emotional response. This can be seen in the fact that most people have the ability to scare or upset themselves. Carroll states that to believe the case is to hold the proposition in the mind assertively, and reflect in the mind non-assertively (sccn). Imagination means entertaining a thought non-assertively in the mind (PH). Thus, the audience member need not be fully entrenched in the subtle manipulations of the film but can meet the narrator halfway, in a sense, and engage in fiction of their own volition. For example, in Titanic, in order for the audience to feel pity for Rose, they must believe that Rose has suffered some hardship in order to experience this pity. Carroll suggests that this hardship experience that Rose experienced is the criterion for pity and that the viewer must be aware of this.  There is an unconscious connection. In order for the viewer to pity Rose, he must believe that there is a reason to pity Rose and be able to form this belief. He must believe that Roses situation is a reason for him to feel pity for her. This means that the viewer analyses and interprets Roses situation such that something about Roses situation is believed to be a hardship. This in turn means that Roses situation is the type of situation where the correct response for him would be pity. The same process occurs with imagination. Carroll states that there is a necessary bond between beliefs and emotions (pg61PH). This bond is such that by having mere thoughts, a person can experience the appropriate emotion attached to it. Carrolls thought theory has applied this information the same way.

Thus, it seems that the production of emotional response to fictional films has a certain criteria. The filmmaker first sets the scene up in such a way as to produce the appropriate emotional response as Carrolls pre-focusing states all characters, events, and settings, are pre-disposed to create an air of that specific emotion.  Next, the viewers must react in the appropriate emotional manner in response to the scene and story, and in order to experience the emotional response, the audience must be open to the storyline and the type of emotional response intended. Emotional response to fictional films is rational such that it is a normal and appropriate response for whatever the film intends. For fictional films to elicit some emotional response in audiences, the audiences must always have their interest on the screen. They must be receptive and attached to the storyline and the visual prompts that support it.  
Further support for the argument for films causing real emotional experiences relies on the fact that emotional states usually have some bodily reaction connected to them as well as phenomenological qualities of feelings. An emotional response can be recognised if physical reactions and phenomenological qualities flow from some stimulation that occurred (NC pg219). For example, tears indicate sadness and laughter happiness.  This stimulation of the mind can occur only with beliefs or imagination.  For example, for the audience to experience anger its members must believe, infer, or be made to imagine something about the character and the situation in the film that the character should not have done. If the aforementioned criteria for producing emotional response to film are fulfilled, the viewer will experience feelings or phenomenological qualia of rushing a character. This cognition functions as a connection between relevant bodily reactions and phenomenological states. Noel Carroll notes that emotions require cognitions as causes and bodily states as effects (NC 221). From the given definition of genuine emotion then, hence, fictional films give genuine emotion as, contents of thoughts can represent objects, and the emotions direct their intention to that intended object.
Returning to the concept of the viewer being consciously receptive to the framework of the film, and the analogy of the viewer caring about the hardships of Rose in Titanic, Noel Carroll points out that in order to engage emotionally in films the viewers should care about the protagonist. This leads to Murray Smith and his view on emotional responses to films this is sympathy under identification. He has a similar view to that of Carolls, save for the idea of being under identification. Both, however, believe that imagination is the key.
Murray Smith states that Whatever else it is, engaging with fiction is a species of imaginative activity Fictional visual narratives elicit imagination in viewers.  Nothing in it is factual, everything is man-made, and hence imagination is vital in eliciting mental identification with and emotional responses to films. Fiction encourages interpretation, evaluation, and many other processes that assist in creating emotional states. For example, grandparents tell their grandkids stories of their past the grandkids cannot be sure of absolute truth, but the story and characters of the memories act like those in films. Here, the listeners imagine the stories and depending on the narration, the grandkids can experience the memory as if they were there. When narrated effectively, the grandkids are able to imagine the conveyed imageries, identify them, and relate them to reality. It is the same process as when watching films.
Narration is important in film for organisation of plot into story and is essential to captivate audiences. It gives that natural force and guidance to the viewer as the story progresses. Smith says that a narration provides access to the objective world of a story but also to the subjective experiences of the character through dream imagery.    It is also the role of the narration to generate the parts of sympathy. The narration in films introduces the characters visually and the filmmakers follow through by moulding the character to look, speak, and behave as realistically as possible just as the character should, so the audience is better able to identify and grasp him. When viewers become emotionally engaged in a film, it is because they have become emotionally engaged with the narrative and show concern for the ending and quite possibly the message of the film.
This concept of identification, according to Smith, is vital for viewers to emotionally engage with the film. Identification with the character is one way viewers relate to fictional characters and emotionally engage with them (MS PG77). Thus, Smith believes identification is the process by which audiences engage with fictional films. Identification is defined narrowly and does not necessarily imply being one with the character but, rather, correctly understanding the situation such that the appropriate emotional response can occur. Identification with the character occurs with acentral imagining and the structure of sympathy comes from this process. Fictional characters may be abstract entities in reality, but once viewers attach their attention and direct emotions towards them and their situation, these fictional characters become in essence as near-touchable as the narrative. Viewers may possibly identify their own qualities or those of their own friends and family members with those of the character, or identify the plight of the character with one that could occur in real life.
Smith specifically suggests sympathy as a cause of emotional responses in films. True sympathy elicits genuine emotion. Viewers experience sympathy when they allow the characters and the situations in which they find themselves to exist in their objective realities. In turn, the characters in films engage viewers interest the recognizable humanity in them and the events. For example, Jane talks to Jake about some character she saw in a movie she describes this persons life and her struggles, and then Jane says she sympathizes with the character. Jane has the belief that this person experienced certain struggles and as such, she understands her. It does not follow that this person or event was ever real, but only that Jane has emotionally attached herself to this certain entity, this idea. If she did have features in common with the person, Janes emotional engagement would intensify. Sympathy in this sense means caring for the character. Viewers need to hold characters in this regard in order to understand the impact of the situation to the character and fully engage with the visual narrative. When people imagine or fantasize about myths and folktales, nothing is real the content, characters, or events are only there to stimulate the cognition and the imagination, hence the needed relative believability of the film characters.

It is possible that people personally fantasize or imagine because they want to feel a certain way. Sympathy deals with ascentral imagining, which is imagining from an external point of view (Wei). With sympathy, viewers not only have an external view but can also have a characters point of view. This external view deals with information, implicitly or explicitly conveyed in the course of the film, that may not be known to the protagonist or may be valuable to the protagonists interest. To understand the situation internally is to understand the characters actions and situation such that viewers can react appropriately to them. For example, in horror films, when the protagonist sees the monster she screams and starts to run spectators understand why she is running and fear for her safety. This sympathy can occur in a variety of ways (BG 64) if the character is crying, viewers pity him if he is screaming, viewers fear for his life or if he gets the girl, viewers feel joy on his behalf. They make a judgement about the events in the narrative and then the appropriate emotional response occurs. For example, in Jaws, viewers see the shark around the hapless beach-goer and they feel fear for him while the character himself does not feel the fear and does not anticipate any sort of danger. What viewers imagine is already framed by the knowledge that they gained by looking at this object which has been designed such that the imaginings are shaped by the demands of the context (BG).
According to Smith, sympathy is comprised of three levels of identification with which the fictional narratives elicit these levels of imaginative engagement with characters. First, recognition this describes the audiences construction of the character, which means that they perceptually build the image of the character. Next, alignment this is the process by which the audiences relate to the characters in terms of what they think and feel regarding the characters actions. Lastly, allegiance this considers the moral evaluation of characters by viewers (Ms 82-84). One should note that none of the three entail that the spectators replicate any of the characters emotions, as this would mean whatever emotions they feel are not genuine but simulated. The third level, allegiance, is the most important constituent of sympathy as morals and emotions are closely linked together. To cause any cognitive emotional responses, evaluations must occur. Moral evaluations come close to peoples hearts such that if a character such as Saruman (Lord of the Rings) raises his eyebrows in subtle elation with the thought of mass killing innocents viewers may show signs of disbelief and would obviously evaluate him as a fully evil character. Viewers usually expect that evil, hated characters will eventually be killed and further engage themselves emotionally in the film.

The structure of sympathy is such that it is a comprehension mechanism (w2). This mechanism is involuntary and quick. This breakdown of sympathy enables the viewer to give his own judgment and feelings of the fictional character and the situation. Viewers come to understand a character by imagining being in the characters situation and encompassing her personality and physical stature, or imagining a character as someone they might have known. The point of view of the character is understood only if viewers can understand the characters interest and judgements (MS79). Viewers can either imagine and project that they themselves are in that situation and consider their behaviour and own response, or they can fully understand the workings of the character in such a way that they can see what she is thinking or feeling. They hold genuine emotional response of their own view of and for her. The viewer may shout Run to warn the character of the impending danger or might say Yay when the protagonist and her lover reconcile conversely, if the viewer dislikes the character through allegiance, they can cheer when that character dies or insult the screen when that character appears. These examples show that viewers become so emotionally involved in the story and experience such a level of identification with the characters that they feel a need to verbally express it thus showing the physical response to a stimulation of genuine emotion.

The visual narrative is thus successful if appropriate genuine responses occur, whether it is by character engagement, through pre-focusing with emotion-driven attention, or even the fine-tuning the believability of a character. For successful character engagement, the viewers understand the state of mind and the context of action by the character and make proper moral evaluations and feelings towards the character. Sympathetic phenomena requires the viewers to not only have a strong understanding of the narrative and its characters but also allows the viewers to respond emotionally accordingly to what they deem appropriate, thus supporting the idea that the resulting emotional experiences are genuine.

Reasons for arguing that visual narratives cause experiences which are merely like emotions
In this section, Kendall Waltons view on fiction and Greg Curries view on quasi-emotion, which is parallel to real emotion, will be discussed. Kendall Walton view is that of the pretend theorist, while Curries suggests viewers experience something like emotion but not real emotion. Emotion for the latter is not exclusively cognitive unlike other theories. He adheres to the belief of something similar to simulation theory, where viewers simulate the fictional characters in film.
When viewers watch fictional visual narratives, they somehow become emotionally attached to the film. However, Kendall Walton believes that the emotions that viewers experience in films are not emotions in the normal sense. For example, in The Ring, no viewer starts to run from the screen when he feels fear. This is because the viewer does not really experience the feeling of fear but experiences quasi-fear. In fictional visual narratives, there is an obvious physical barrier between the imagined world and the real world. This barrier begins to appear psychologically transparent to viewers as they continue to attempt to connect with it. This physical barrier prevents viewers from actually experiencing fear since physical interaction can only occur with things that actually exist. This means that the viewer does not really feel the physical reactions of real fear because he knows that what is onscreen is not real and that even if he feels that the monster coming towards him, it is not actually happening. The viewer is fully aware that the monster is fictional and this seems to be a good reason to support the view that he does not really feel fear. This is a very different case from when the viewer would experience fear in real life he would probably run, hide, fight, or call the police if he did indeed feel that his life was in immediate danger. In the movie, the fear he feels is not real he may shut his eyes, jump in his seat, or grip his chair tightly and though these behavioural actions indicate that he may feel immediate fear, he knows that he is not in real danger as he is watching a fictional film.
Again, this response to horror fiction has the emotional quality of what is called quasi-fear. What the viewer feels is an automatic response that does not indicate true fear of immediate danger. It seems inconclusive to suggest that what he experiences in the cinema is genuine fear just because he says so and acts like it, because of the lack of extremity in his actions and the temporariness of his emotions. Emotions like fear can be defined as cognitively approved because they have the appropriate response in certain situations. So far, there seems to be two senses of emotions one that indicates real-life situations, and the other that indicates cinematic-induced emotion.
We again use the viewer Jake as an example at that moment he believes that he is experiencing real fear, but this is mostly because of the intensity of the experience. The filmmakers juggle with the viewers emotions, pushing and pulling them to get a desired effect. For example, in the Ring, the unknowing victim gets a phone call, then the television comes on with static, then strange whispers are heard. These scenes all build the suspense and tension of the inevitable attack. The viewers emotions are intensified with each scene. Jake believes that the monster is coming for her victim, then he believes that he is seeing the monster he seems to believe without a doubt that it is true that the monster is going to kill the girl. However, this is a fictional truth that constitutes the fictional world. The visual narrative directs the viewer along the story and enables him to make-believe that he is in this fictional world.
Walton suggests that when viewers watch films, they play a game of make-believe where the product is, in turn, just a make-believe emotional response. In The Ring, when Sadako comes out of the television towards the viewer, it is make-believe that he is threatened. Jake may shut his eyes or look away make-believedly, he is afraid.  He is playing a game of make-believe where the images on the screen are his props.  He is like an actor impersonating himself (KW IV). What makes Jake being afraid make-believe are truths about himself, such that at that moment it is what he thinks and feels it is, which is partly responsible for Jake being in a state of quasi-fear. In other words, Jake reacts to what he knows is make-believe onscreen by emotionally reacting with make-believe fear. While he does experience a quickened heart pace and feels jumpy and it is thus appropriate to say that he is afraid, it is all still only make-believe.  It is make-believe as the viewer plays along in the set story with the fictional characters and events, and pretends to himself that he is experiencing all the emotions he should feel if he was in the real version of the story. All the while though, the physical barrier is still present and there are certain limitations to actions. The fact is that Jake is quasi-afraid because he make-believedly realises that the monster threatens him, which, in a rather circular manner, leads him to the truth of him being make-believedly afraid of the monster. Jake is playing the visual narratives game where he is given images as props and a setting and situation to pretend to be in. He is an actor, but it is only he that knows what he is thinking and feeling. It is a personal game. Only in his inclusive make-believe world does the viewer really fear the monster, outside it, he is only pretending to be afraid. The film establishes the fictional world where the viewer sees more make-believe truths from an objective angle, of the larger world. In a way, all he is doing is engrossing himself in the film.
The problem now is to figure out whether the viewer actually recognises the production of quasi-emotions while he watches as make-believe. In make-believe, viewers immerse themselves into the fictional they make-believe that Indiana Jones has found these renowned artefacts instead of the props that they know these are and have various feelings about him and his adventures (KW VI). In other words, the viewers can also make-believe themselves into the fictional world as a character or act as actors that play themselves like the earlier example of Jake and his quasi-fear. In this intimate relation between the real world and the fictional world, introspection is required. For a viewer like Jake, introspection is needed to discover that not only is he make-believedly afraid of the monster but there are also make-believe truths about the essence and progress of his fear. In the previous discussion of the make-believe mechanism, it is clear that the viewer imagines himself to be afraid of the monster in the context of the film, but is in reality not afraid of the fictional monster. He experiences make-believe quasi-fear. By consciously make-believing that he is afraid, he receives an automatic awareness of his quasi-fear nature of his emotions (KW V). When the viewer recognizes that he is in a make-believe state of fear, only then does he accept his game of make believe, like the act of pinching oneself to wake from a dream. Once he accepts this, he will realize that whatever emotional response is caused by the film is one of make-believe, and only seems and acts like its real emotional counterpart. Thus, this argument hinges on conscious make-believing.
With this conscious acceptance of the make-believe nature of film, whatever emotional response viewers experience when watching fictional films are also make-believe. This is quasi-emotion. When the viewer is angry with Saruman, it is not literally true, and the viewer is in such a distinctive state is a result of his awareness of certain make-believe truths he knows that there is no Saruman and that the actor who plays him is nothing like the character. The viewer is in this emotional state because of beliefs that make him fear or hate a character. Quasi-emotion is half-emotion, which is not experienced to its full extent, hence the lack of the real full reaction to it.
Curries approach to make-believe is quite different, and makes great use of this concept of quasi-emotion. Make-believe is the input into viewers system that produces something parallel to that of real emotions but stems from make-belief. This parallel emotion he calls quasi-emotion. Quasi-emotion occurs when viewers encounter and immerse themselves in fiction. It is easy to mistake different mental states from one another quasi-emotions do not involve real beliefs, but they very much like real emotions (NF 185). Fictional films induce emotional responses from viewers and as these films are fiction, hence the responses to them are responses to fiction. For example, when viewers pity Sam for being sent away by Frodo, the viewers have certain thoughts about Sam and his situation, and react to this as they should react to fiction, that is without full emotional involvement.

To have a theory of emotion, it must involve emotions concerning a persons situation such that people believe that the proposition describes the case, and people cannot believe the propositions that describe the case of fictional characters (NF 187). The identity of the emotion and the feelings involved are required. Beliefs and desires are thought of as propositional attitudes. Desires involve feelings and are dispositions to act in certain ways in certain circumstances (NF 192-193). Emotions are the nexus of the relationship between these propositional attitudes and feelings. Quasi-emotions are not considered real emotional states, but they do mean something like emotion in the real sense, though just not quite as real. In the case of fiction, propositional attitudes consist of make-belief and desire. Make-belief is a propositional attitude when a person or viewer pretends that something apart from reality is the case. For example, in Toy Story, Andy make-believes he is a cowboy. This means he inputs this make-belief that he is a cowboy and acts as if it were true. This make-belief generates the corresponding appropriate emotion but with the physical constraints of fiction. Currie does not take fiction for fact, but fiction for make-believe fact.
Viewers responses to fiction imply that maybe there is a striking parallel between quasi-emotion and real emotion such that quasi-emotion is merely like emotion. As said before, viewers responses to fiction differ from real emotions in that make-belief substitutes for belief. This means that the same causal cognitive process occurs when make-belief and desires interact as belief and feelings do. This means viewers analyse information in the same form except they do not commit to the make-belief truth. This also means that the emotional system runs normally but, because of the imagining or make-belief that has been input, the viewer does not feel inclined to act on it fully as the entire mental process is running offline (seop). Desires and feelings are interchangeable, and though the thoughts may vary according to the truth of the worlds, the output feelings are still similar if not the same. These feelings are caused by attitudes to propositions (NF 197). The propositions can be the same but have different truths in the different contexts. In a sense, the causation process is the same the inputs are the same but in different contexts. Beliefs are true or false propositions that correspond to the actual world and make-beliefs are true or false in virtue of the make-believe world. Therefore, any emotional state that is based on beliefs and desires of a specific kind will produce feelings of that specific kind, such that any make-beliefs and desires of a specific kind will produce corresponding feelings to create the parallel emotions known as quasi-emotions (NF 198).    
This parallel structure between production of emotion and quasi-emotion shows an underlying rationality. Emotions are validated once they involve a belief that is true.  To have a reasonable emotion means that a large amount of evidence to support the belief in which the emotion is grounded is required (ibid). Thus, as make-belief and belief are parallel in thought, an emotional response to fiction is validated only if it involves that make-belief being true in that story and not in the fictional situation.  Quasi-emotions turn out to be cognitive states such that they have propositional content, and can be evaluated and judged as reasonable or not. Their content can be evaluated in appropriate ways which can not involve the issues with belief. For example, the feelings that viewers experience are caused by their make-belief that Frodo is in danger. If viewers want to know what Frodo is thinking, they imagine themselves in Frodos shoes by running their natural behaviour systems offline and input all of Frodos experiences and situation into their emotional process such that they experience everything that he does. Thus, they react as they would normally, but as they know the inputs are not real, they do not need to react to the same extent as Frodo again the limited extent characteristic of quasi-emotion. The viewers just need to comprehend everything then sit back and enjoy the emotional train-track the narrative places them on while they are watching the movie.
To summarize, simulation theory is important in how viewers engage with fiction. Imagination is important in watching fictional films and is the process of running mental states offline. This happens when the fictional story provides the beliefs or inputs into the simulation process (IM 148). The meaning of belief changes as its cause and effect changes the imagining is still internal and input is still external but belief-like connections replace the beliefs connection to other cognitive states and the body. Viewers cognitive processes are engaged offline in fiction and the beliefs acquired are instead imaginings that simulate beliefs. Running offline means that viewers temporarily sever ties between their mental states and their perceptual causes and behaviour (IM 149). In effect, they react as if they are the character himself as they have made him and his personality their belief inputs.

These imaginings deal with the perceptual images to a large extent and also with the truth in a story. The imaginings have counterfactual dependence between the make-belief input and what they see on the screen. This means that the imaginings get their input from fictional sources but as it is fictional they still do not essentially believe that what they see is true but rather, consider it as true for the purposes of enjoying the film. When the viewers engage with fiction, they simulate the process of acquiring beliefs such that it would take them into a kind-of-fact instead of fiction.  The purpose of imaginings is to inform a person of the mental thoughts of another (IM 148). For example, when a viewer wants to find out what Frodo is doing, he simulates Frodos mental processes and thus acquires certain beliefs about him.

Decision Real emotional experiences or merely like emotions
This section will compare and contrast the arguments for real emotions and for merely like emotions. The important areas which seem to be required in the determination of which emotional response occurs will be pointed out. The best reason should tackle the fictional appropriately, all while having a believable process for that emotional process to occur. These areas of concern are the inputs and causal processes that lead to the appropriate emotional response. First, the proposed reasons will be examined in how they deal with the fictional aspects of the films, then the input and causal processes will be discussed to show why and how those types of emotional responses occur.
Noel Carroll takes fiction as having conceivable existence in objective reality fiction as a near-tangible thought is understandable. He also takes fiction as being manipulated by others to induce emotion. The presence of emotional response in viewers shows that they are responding as they would only if they regard what they perceive as real. This thought theory solves any problems with non-existence. The fictional elements onscreen are just real objects that have been manipulated. Fiction is something that we are mandated to imagine (PMFMP). Carroll believes that the practices of fiction, emotional responses, are built into viewers capacities to be moved by thought (PH 83). Murray Smith, on the other hand, suggests that viewers roughly see some quality they have or want in characters and identify with them in a way that does not consider the fictional. Viewers see the film as a real-life story, and thus, make judgements and respond emotionally because they identify with the characters and their situations. Whether the elements are real or not does not matter in this view, but rather, it depends on how viewers relate to the characters and events as entities. Smith does not see this fiction as purely that entertainment or escape, but as a way of understanding the world better. These two previous arguments take fiction in a not so true in actuality but true hypothetically sense and thus argue that the emotional responses are genuine because acting this way can give a fuller understanding of the film. Viewers do not worry so much about the metaphysical claims of fictional existence they take the film as it is and react to it as they are wont to.

For the opposing view, Kendall Walton likens the viewers interaction with fiction to playing a make-believe game. This is an understandable view, as fiction is, by definition, imaginary. He believes that viewers interest in fiction lies in the story (NF 36). Make-believe games are imaginary and thus handle fiction well enough to give make-believe its meaning, and thus produce make-believe emotions that should go with these meanings, yet it does hinge on the idea that the viewer is conscious that he is playing make-believe. Walton appears to take the interpretation of fiction much further than its concept. Greg Currie, on the other hand, handles the idea of fiction as being true in that story, which makes it easier for the viewer to understand. When viewers engage with fiction, they imagine it to be fact. Viewers that can identify the fictional can just go into a cinema, input that into their systems, and enjoy the film. These two arguments take fiction to be what it means. Fiction is the intention of either the story or what information the maker wishes to convey with it. It is the belief of the author that fiction should be taken in this regard. Thus, it seems that Currie handles pure fiction best because he takes fiction as it is made by imagination or make-belief.
Noel Carroll suggests that viewers input the fiction proposition the same as they do with a thought, and it produces the same output as the viewers own emotional response would be for any emotion-inducing thought. In this way, the inputs are also externally manipulated sequences. Carroll suggests that fiction and non-fiction, though different, undergo the same procedure and produce the same real emotion.  However, fiction and reality should be kept separate and not input in the same way.

Smith proposed that by identifying with the fictional character, as with his definition of sympathy, viewers are able to understand all aspects of the film.  Viewers input the beliefs and situation of the character into their mental system and then output their own responses to the characters situation and state.

Walton plays a game of make-believe and thus inputs the fictional into his mental system and pretends that it all exists enabling him to respond only with quasi-emotion. This means that viewers emotional responses are not as real as they would be if they were not playing make-believe, but the emotional response is just enough as to elicit some semblance of the emotion. The images are also inputs as they are props in the games.

Currie inputs his true in this story beliefs and gets an emotional response of appropriate response in regards to the truth in that story. These make-beliefs or fiction-truths input the same way as real beliefs would. It is just that the system of processing is tweaked a little to handle this type of belief, unlike Carrolls same inputting of both.

Greg Currie and Murray Smiths views deal with the issue of inputs best. It is perfectly plausible that viewers input beliefs this way. Carroll and Smith handle input well enough as they see fiction as varying in truths of this world or for that character, but can still escape some issues if they push that the inputs of fiction are considered non-assertively and have the qualities required to output real emotion.
The mechanisms involved in producing the emotional response have to be valid and plausible. The audience must be able to recognise the procedure and output. Carrolls procedure is very normal but the mechanism to produce emotional response is internal. The thought procedure is too open such that any interaction with abstract or fictional identities can be cognitively processed in the same way. It does not seem logical that fiction and non-fiction should be channelled the same way and thus generate emotional responses that are the same. The mechanism is not valid for distinguishing, and viewers should be able to tell that their emotion is real.

Smiths view has a strong mechanism. His mechanism stimulates the mind in a manner that expresses that genuine emotion. It is precise and involves the viewers own behaviour.  In all respects, it seems that this mechanism contains everything that is required for producing real emotions and thought it takes into consideration ones own self and that of the character and her situation.

Waltons mechanism is also strong it has rules, a set path, and it keeps viewers in touch with the fiction. They get to enjoy the film by playing this make-believe game. However, Waltons view does not stand up to the recognition criteria. The conscious playing of make-believe is the faulty criteria, it does not always apply. One is not aware of playing these games unless ones output signals too much involvement in the make-belief and will reach ones limit and start to experience real emotion. This might occur with horror movies, but not too possible in other genres, like comedy for instance. The theory is plausible in that it states that the output is just as imaginary as the input.

Curries mechanism is perfectly viable and the viewers can easily understand the process. It is a strong view as it takes into consideration the real value of fiction it inputs in an everyday cognitive mechanism and the result is a corresponding like-feeling. The only apparent issue is that the output is the characters emotion, though the viewer is responding how he deems appropriate. The idea of simulating the characters emotions for the express purpose of experiencing emotion-like responses seems irrational. The idea that ones own systems go offline is also undesirable. This mechanism tells the difference between fiction and non-fiction and they are recognizable by their outputs. Currie is logical in his argument that the emotional responses are merely like genuine ones and by simulating the character, viewers need to run their mental systems offline, but this suggests a zombie-like state.

Smith and Carroll rely on everyday processes to produce genuine emotions from fictional sources valid enough, but it seems there must be something in the mechanism that is able to sort the fiction from fact, such that it can tell them apart. Both Currie and Waltons arguments hold for the mechanism criteria.
The emotional responses to films can be either merely like genuine emotions or actually real emotions. A viewer can determine which it is by checking the validity of input, mechanism, and output, and if everything is consistent and plausible. Carrolls view does not distinguish between the output emotional responses as fiction-caused or not. Emotional responses to real situations should be more intense and evaluative in order to have that appropriate response of action. Thus, fiction and reality should have outputs that differ in intensity and force but are still genuine emotional responses.  Pre-focusing allows for intensification and further emotional engagement which pushes the appropriate emotional response. Many viewers may experience such intensified emotions to such a high degree that they begin to assertively consider the fictional propositions and react as if it were always real, such as with fear, sadness, or excitement. At this point, the viewer should attempt to calm himself.

Smiths view does not prove that relating to the character will cause shared emotional understanding. His mechanism though, allows for not only imagining and understanding of the character, but of the narrative so even if emotional understanding may not occur with the character, the viewer engages further with the narrative. The viewer always experiences his own emotional response. No matter the input, the mechanism is valid and spectators own responses occur.

Waltons view is consistent with input and output, but when a person plays a game of make-believe, he does not tend to engage himself fully in it and as such lose track of reality. With this view, the viewer knows that he is make-believing that he is scared or happy and that he pretending when he recognises that an emotional response is his. This output is quasi-emotion. This is fake, or at least not full, emotion that gives the impression of being real. Quasi-emotion is the emotion viewers deem appropriate to feel and react with.  It does not mean the viewers actually experience it.

Curries argument gives the best reason for merely like emotion output. He distinguishes between fiction and fact within thought processes as well as emotional outputs. The emotional response merely like emotion is emotion that is consistent with fiction. Viewers experience the emotion to the same degree as the real one and it is technically their real emotions but with constraints of certain emotion-active-body reactions. As mentioned earlier, viewers want the emotional ride without the baggage of everything else.

Both Carroll and Smiths arguments are compelling in the way that that a thought and the evaluation of characters and situations do elicit real emotions. The mechanisms are valid but they do not effectively distinguish the fictional output emotions from the non-fictional ones. Having genuine emotional responses indicate viewers respond as they should to situations. The situations may be hypothetical but it is an experience that they wanted in the first place. Walton and Curries arguments are consistent and though they talk about make-believe in two distinct ways, they use it consistently and in similar mechanisms. Either way, they effectively convey what is required for these experiences of merely like emotions to occur.  

This dissertation investigated the emotional responses of viewers to film, or visual narrative, and focused on fictional film. The arguments of popular philosophers with regard to this subject were presented, theories were analysed according to certain criteria, and judgements were given. After thorough comparison and contrasting of all aspects of the arguments, the argument for merely like emotions appears to be the best answer to the topic question. Fiction gives enjoyment and the kind of third-party emotional experiences that viewers want. Walton and Curries views allow for the definition of fiction and the distinction between emotional reactions to fiction and non-fiction. Currie said it best when he said that the responses to fiction should be responses to fiction. Therefore, visual narratives cause experiences which are merely-like emotions.


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