The Snowman Effect

March 6, 2012

Massumi’s essay on the anatomy of affect was much easier to read through than other articles on the subject of affect. It is broken into four parts, each beginning with reference to a study or example that relates to the discussion. What is significant is that the first part begins with a melancholy retelling of a German television program which prompted a study into emotion and cognition. The study found that a version of the program with an overlaid ‘emotional’ descriptive narration allowed the subjects to remember the content better. Allowing the reader to start with the story as well makes the reading instantly more relatable and more memorable, a case in point of the case being described. The emotional attachment seems to better convey affect into cognition and memory, which seems like a logical statement considering one’s own experiences attempting to memorise a list of items versus a story with an emotional thread to follow. This breakdown of cognition and interpretation has made an anatomy of affect much more understandable, visualising the process to thought as a series of messy interactions and pathways rather than a simple flowchart helps explain the potential of affect as something that can be trained and utilised as opposed to a very thin and indeterminable step in a linear process.

– Michael Lyon

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