Cognitive Film and Media Ethics

Wyatt Moss-Wellington

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive Film and Media Ethics provides a grounding in the use of cognitive science to address key questions in film, television, and screen media ethics. This book extends prior works in cognitive media studies to answer normative and ethically prescriptive questions: what could make media morally good or bad, and what, then, are the respective responsibilities of media producers and consumers? Moss-Wellington makes a primary claim that normative propositions are a kind of rigor, in that they force media theorists to draw more active ought conclusions from descriptive is arguments. Cognitive Film and Media Ethics presents the rigors of normative reasoning, cognitive science, and consequentialist ethics as complementary, arguing that each seeks progressive elaboration on its own models of causality, and causal projections are crucial for any reflection on our moral responsibilities in the world. A hermeneutics of “ethical cognitivism” is applied in the latter half of the book, with each essay addressing a different case study in film, television, news, and social media: cinema that sets out to inspire moral dissonance in the viewer, satirical and humorous depictions of family drama in film and television, the politics of the romantic comedy, formal aspects of screen media bullying in an era dubbed the “television renaissance, " and contemporary problems in the conflation of news and social media. Cognitive Film and Media Ethics synthesizes current research in social psychology, anthropology, memory studies, emotion and cognition, personality and media selection, and evolutionary biology, integrating wide-ranging concepts from the various disciplines that make up cognitive theory to provide new vantages on the applied ethics of film and screen media.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages200
ISBN (Electronic)9780197552926
ISBN (Print)9780197552889
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Cognitive theory
  • Consequentialism
  • Ethics
  • Film studies
  • Hermeneutics
  • Media studies
  • Narrative theory
  • Rhetoric
  • Social media
  • Television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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