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Movies and the Beat!

May 8, 2012

Abstract: Movies make us cry, laugh, pee our pants, and feel totally badass. For our experiment we wondered one question: would different genres cause us to have different changes in heart rate? To find this out we decided to select small, two-minute clips of movies that covered four genres: horror, comedy, action, and drama. After we selected our clips, we went out and picked two female subjects and two male subjects to test our hypothesis that different genres would affect genders differently. Once we had both our clips and subjects, we performed our experiment. We monitored the heart rate of each subject before showing the movie clip and during the two minutes they watched each clip. Our results proved that seventy-five percent of our hypothesis was correct. Females heart rates were more affected by scary movies and dramas, while males heart rates were more affected by comedy. However, males were not as affected by action as we had predicted. We decided that this was due to the fact that each subject was not exposed to long enough sections of the movie to become fully emerged into the emotions of the movie.

I. Title: Movies and the Beat

II. Problem: Is heart rate affected by the genre of movies you watch?

III. Hypothesis: If a person watches a scene representative of a genre with intensity, then their heart rate will increase because of emotional stimulation. A male will react differently than a female. A male’s subject’s heart rate will be more affected by the action and comedy genres because they are easily excited by fast-paced entertainment. A female’s heart rate will be more affected by the drama and horror genres because they are emotionally driven.

IV. Materials: 

  • Test subjects (total 4- two females & two males)
  • Computer (MacBook)
  • LoggerPro Software
  • Vernier LabQuest Mini
  • Hand-Grip Heart Rate Monitor
  • Empty, dark, quiet room
  • 4 two minute movie clips of different movie genres

V. Procedure: 

  1. Select two boys and two girls around the same age for test subjects.
  2. Using the Hand-Grip Heart Rate Monitor, LoggerPro Software, and Vernier LabQuest Mini on the Macbook gather the heart rate for each test subject.
  3. After recording the resting heart rate of each subject, take one subject into the room to watch the four separate movie clips.
  4. Using the Hand-Grip Heart Rate Monitor, LoggerPro Software, and Vernier LabQuest Mini on the Macbook gather the heart rate of the subject while they watch each clip.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each of the remaining subjects.
  6. After gathering the data for each subject use the data to compare the changes in heart rates among the subjects. While comparing data try to focus on how each person reacted to the different movie genres.

VI. Data:


VII. Conclusion: 

For the most part, our hypothesis was accurate. Looking at the data we collected, it can be seen that different genres do, in fact, affect heart rate differently. In addition, the data also reveals that males and females do respond differently to each genre. In our hypothesis, we stated that males would be more affected by action and comedy genres, while females would be more affected by horror and drama genres. Out of these four predictions, three were correct. The male test subjects experienced much greater changes in heart rate during the comedy than the female subjects. On the other hand, the female subjects experienced moderately greater changes in heart rate during the horror and drama than the males. However, our prediction about the action genre was not proven to be correct, since neither sex was affected more than the other during that clip.After collecting our data, we noticed that the test subjects were generally not as affected by the clips as we were expecting. While this is typical in experiments, we also believe that the small changes in heart rates are due, in part, to the fact that our four movie clips were only two-minute sections of the movies. We think that, in order to become emotionally involved enough to experience drastic changes in heart rate, test subjects need to experience an entire movie, not just a section of it.
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