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How do you handle the observer effect ?

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livelove
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How do you handle the observer effect ?

Postby livelove » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:04 am

I often struggle with how to accurately score movies. This topic is part of a series dealing with voting-related problems, challenges, phenomenons and paradoxes — all as part of a quest whose end-goal is to correctly reflect my appreciation of movies when rating them:



Physicists have to deal with the observer effect:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_(physics) wrote:In physics, the observer effect is the theory that the mere observation of a phenomenon inevitably changes that phenomenon.
In the world of movies, we encounter a similar effect sometimes:

SpikyCactus @ viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7815#p68771 wrote:if I've watched a film before (and can remember anything about it), then the fact I've seen it before will colour how good I think it is on the second or subsequent viewings. Some movies can be seen again and again without really seeming to be better or worse, whilst others lose a lot of their impact after the first time, or actually get better on repeated viewings.
Even good movies can be watched to death:
chmul_cr0n @ viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5506#p67076 wrote:they became stale, because they weren't meant to be watched 30 million times...

Even watching a film only for a second time may give considerably different results:

livelove @ viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5506#p52354 wrote:because you already know some spoilers, so for the category of movies that rely heavily on suspense, you won't be that excited any more the second time you watch it, since you already know what happens, including the movie's major twists and turns. […] the excitement of seeing something completely new, fresh and never-seen-before is gone (almost by definition) the 2nd time you see it. So IMO rating a movie on second sight is bound to yield a distorted rating.


The bottom line is
:
The number of viewings might have an impact on the film's score.

Our film list consists of films seen only once and films seen multiple times.
The latter's scores may differ significantly from their score on first viewing.
So it's hardly a fair and balanced comparison.
It's more like comparing movies seen on a big cinema screen with movies watched on your mobile phone ...

Any good ideas how to handle this ?
Last edited by livelove on Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

SpikyCactus
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Re: How do you handle the observer effect ?

Postby SpikyCactus » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:10 am

I don't really see this as a problem myself. It's just a normal thing that happens with most things we experience in life. I'm only scoring from my own prospective for my own enjoyment. I do so mostly to reflect how much I enjoyed the overall viewing experiences, so for me it's fine if my scores change. I don't try to rate things against some sort of Oscar-like or other 'quality standard', so if my scores go up or down on subsequent viewings then they're still as valid as the first time; in fact the new scores are actually reflecting my most up to date opinions.

Sometimes, especially for comedy, repetition in itself can be very funny, so advance knowledge can enhance the humour. But for others, such as film's with unexpected twists, the reverse is more likely to be true, as the surprise is already known about. Also, I think as you get older your views, outlooks, expectations and opinions change, so just time itself can change a score, even if you couldn't remember any of the details from the past about what you'd watched again. And 'mood at the time' and more recent life experiences must have a big impact too. I think if you've had direct experience in your life of a specific thing, especially if it was very significant and happened since you last saw the film, then this bound to colour your opinion of it too.

I'd actually quite like to see how my scores for specific movies change over time, although I guess it would take many years for much of a pattern to emerge.

livelove
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Re: How do you handle the observer effect ?

Postby livelove » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:55 am

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. Oddly enough, I agree with every single point you just made, wow. :o

The effects you mention don't bother me too much.
My main problem is this:
SpikyCactus wrote:advance knowledge can enhance […] but for others, such as film's with unexpected twists, the reverse is more likely to be true, as the surprise is already known about.

If you rewatch a film which heavily relies on suspense to work (or the story's unknown course and outcome generally), and the surprise factor is gone the 2nd time around, you might enjoy it less. So, logically, if you enjoy it less, you would have to rate it lower.

I know some films, which I would probably have to rate lower on 2nd viewing due to this effect.

So my point is, that the film's rating is not only determined by your appreciation of it, but is also arbitrary to some extent, as it depends on your choice of rewatching it or not.

Let's say I rate a movie 80 and a reviewing would bring it down to 60.
Should my 80 or my 60 be compared to other users? :?
Especially considering the fact, that the majority of other user scores are based on a single viewing.


What I'm trying to get at is:
If I put my hand in a bowl of water to feel the temperature, I'll change it.
And if I rewatch (certain type of) films, the experience changes merely by repeating it.

If I appreciate a film less the second time because of new things I discovered (in the movie or in my life or in myself), I don't mind changing my rating accordingly. Even if it's only because I am in a different mood (although I find that a bit more problematic, if the mood is temporary, while the score is permanent). However, lowering my rating simply because I rewatched a film, makes me uneasy. :?

AFlickering
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Re: How do you handle the observer effect ?

Postby AFlickering » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:34 am

i think i subconsciously always rate based on how much i expect i'd enjoy the movie next time i watch it. the more of a movie i see, the more i'm able to situate prior scenes within the whole, and that often makes them grow or shrink in my mind. they're no longer the same as they were when i first experienced them, and i don't see the point in rating as though they were.

LEAVES
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Re: How do you handle the observer effect ?

Postby LEAVES » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:16 pm

livelove wrote:The bottom line is[/u]:
The number of viewings might have an impact on the film's score.

Our film list consists of films seen only once and films seen multiple times.
The latter's scores may differ significantly from their score on first viewing.
So it's hardly a fair and balanced comparison.
It's more like comparing movies seen on a big cinema screen with movies watched on your mobile phone ...

Any good ideas how to handle this ?
How to handle this? There are two ways: If you want to avoid all imperfections and contradictions and idiosyncrasies... there's no escape. Even if you don't "rate" films, you'll still experience all of these things. There is no escape. Embrace the chaos - and, of course, don't take yourself too seriously. Think about statistics - using the best objective measurement and mathematical modeling, we still measure objectively observable phenomena in terms of margins of error and standard deviations, etc. When it comes to only you measuring only your own feelings a single time, with incredible variations from one experience to the next, the only statistically acceptable method for categorization would be to throw everything out. But we don't, because it's fun and sometimes helpful, but it's prone to all sorts of deeply human variations. That's one of the benefits of being alive, not a detriment. Embrace the chaos! If you want or expect certainty, you will inevitably be disappointed. Don't stress it.

coffee
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Re: How do you handle the observer effect ?

Postby coffee » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:31 pm

I do not think the observer effect is about repeated viewings though.

This might help.

movieboy
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Re: How do you handle the observer effect ?

Postby movieboy » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:23 am

livelove wrote:
I often struggle with how to accurately score movies. This topic is part of a series dealing with voting-related problems, challenges, phenomenons and paradoxes — all as part of a quest whose end-goal is to correctly reflect my appreciation of movies when rating them:




What is your end goal with criticker? It seems to be scoring/rating movies perfectly rather than watching & enjoying movies?

I think you forget that this is a means & not the end itself.


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