Heroic images are presented here as constructed possible selves which may play an important role in self development. A questionnaire was given to 510 Irish and 190 U.S. third and fourth grade children in a study designed to investigate (1) their conceptions of the heroic and (2) the effects of a classroom intervention on the Irish children’s choices of heroes and heroines. The educational program was constructivist and designed to challenge children to reconsider their ideas about heroic figures and to engage in discussion designed to promote prosocial attitudes in concrete ways. While national origin and gender strongly influenced children’s heroic images, there were strong factor structure similarities in U.S. and Irish samples. “The good” was the first factor, the fifth an antiheroic factor, and the others reflected figures from film, television and sport. In addition, gender differences in the choice of proximal and distal heroic figures were identified. Prosocial effects due to the intervention program were encouraging and discussed within the context of Irish educational objectives. Relevance: Heroes play an important role in identity. This study shows both national differences between Irish and US primary/elementary age children, and also shows how a classroom intervention can influence heroic figures chosen.
Children’s self concepts are important constructions of their experience in childhood. Following Ernst von Glasersfeld’s approach, self concepts are personal organisations of self-other experiences. Heroes as admired figures have a role in self-concepts and play collectivist or individualist roles in the child’s imagination and self-development. Further, they reflect what the child has chosen as important. Representations of heroic figures in questionnaires given to French (n = 241) and Spanish (n = 227) samples of 10 and 15-year-olds were examined to assess the extent that heroes originated in digital media, and whether they were proximal or distal personalities. There is strong evidence that heroes in this sample were largely learned about in digital media (France 45%, Spain 50%): family and community heroes were a minority (France11%, Spain 9%). Male heroes were more important to Spanish participants compared to their French peers. The acquisition sequence for hero type reported in the pre-television era, proximal (family and community) to distal (beyond the neighbourhood), is reversed in this study. Generally, 10-year-olds preferred heroes with collectivist qualities and 15 year olds with individualised qualities. Findings are discussed in terms of the emergence of social capital. Relevance: This survey shows cultural differences in the choices of Spanish and French 10 and 15 year olds.
In seeking to understand the mechanisms by which the spectator constructs meaning when watching a film it is necessary to abandon the untenable concept of communication that dominates interpretative practice in film studies. The interpretation of films must be understood not in terms of the meaning(s) a film may possess or that may be determined by a film’s formal elements, but in terms of the conceptual structures and cognitive operations of the spectator. Meaning is a state that arises when the spectator is able to fit their experience of a film into pre-existing information structures.
As a technology and an art form perceived to be capable of reproducing the world, it has long been thought that the cinema has a natural affinity with reality. In this essay I consider the Realist theory of film history out forward by Robert C. Allen and Douglas Gomery from the perspective of Radical Constructivism. I argue that such a Realist theory cannot provide us with a viable approach to film history as it presents a flawed description of the historian’s relationship to the past. Radical Constructivism offers an alternative model, which requires historians to rethink the nature of facts, the processes involved in constructing historical knowledge, and its relation to the past. Historical poetics, in the light of Radical Constructivism, is a basic model of research into cinema that uses concepts to construct theoretical statements in order to explain the nature, development, and effects of cinematic phenomena.
In this paper I adopt a Radical Constructivist approach to understanding the viewer’s experience of motion in the cinema. Rejecting both realist and illusionist arguments, I argue that in watching a film the viewer constructs movement by generating the individual identity of an element of their perceptual field over time.