World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fordham Experiment

Article Id: WHEBN0025619441
Reproduction Date:

Title: Fordham Experiment  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Television studies, Marshall McLuhan
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Fordham Experiment

The Fordham Experiment was an experiment done as part of a course on The Effects of Television by Eric McLuhan and Harley Parker at Fordham University in 1967 or 1968. The purpose of the experiment was to demonstrate to the students that there was a difference between the effects of movies and those of TV on an audience, and to try to ascertain what some of those differences might be.

The distinction was thought to occur because movies present reflected light ('light on') to the viewer, while a TV picture is back lit ('light through'). The experimenters showed two movies, a documentary and a film with little story line about horses, sequentially to two groups of equivalent size, and had the viewers write a half a page of comments of their reactions.

The groups' reactions to one of the films were roughly similar. Distinct reactions, however, were found for the other. Generally, the 'light on' (movie) presentation was perceived as having lowered tactility and heightened visuality, as compared to the heightened tactility and lessened visuality of the 'light through' (TV) presentation.

Visualility dropped from 'light on' to 'light-through':

  • Comments on cinematic technique dropped from 36% with 'light on' to below 20% with 'light-through'
  • Comments on specific scenes dropped from 51% to 20%
  • Objective comments on a 'sense of power' in the animals dropped from 60% to 20%

Tactility increased from 'light on' to 'light through':

  • Comments on sensory evocation and a sense of involvement and tenseness increased from 6% with 'light on' to 36% with 'light through'
  • Comments on a feeling of a loss of sense of time rose from 6% to 40%
  • Comments on a sense of total involvement rose from 15% to 64%
  • Comments on a sense of total emotional involvement rose from 12% to 48%

The researchers concluded that the 'light on' subjects exhibited a sensory shift characterized by a drop in visual sense and an increase in tactile sense.

Although this experiment has validity, it does not deal directly with the central point made by Marshall McLuhan that the cinema image, typically a 35mm frame, is made up of millions of dots, or emulsion, and is much more 'saturated' than the lines and pixels of the TV image. McLuhan argued that the TV screen invited the audience to 'fill-in' a low-intensity image, much like following the bounding lines of a cartoon. That made TV more 'involving' and more tactile. The high-intensity film image allows for much more information on screen, but also demands a higher degree of visual perception and cognition. In that sense, he said, film is a 'hot' medium, TV a 'cool' bath.

References

  • McLuhan, Eric, "The Fordham Experiment", Proceedings of the Media Ecology Association, Volume 1, 2000. (original paper c.1967)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.