In 1995, two scientists named Robert Levenson and James Gross published a list, based on seven years of research, of the sixteen scenes in movies that are mostly likely to elicit specific emotional responses (anger, sadness, amusement, etc.) in people in a lab watching movies for science. For example, their top-rated scene for “amusement” was the fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally. So clearly this is bologna? I mean, I’m certainly no scientist, and I’m not sure how the movie climate was from 1988 – 1995 because I was barely born, but coomeeee onnnn. NOTHING from Dumb and Dumber? Did they even ever hear of that movie? Anyway, this study was done not only so people could write about it on blogs many years later, but also to find a way to bring people to certain emotions in order to test them for other things. An article on the study in Smithsonian Magazine gives this example:
The Champ has been used in experiments to see if depressed people are more likely to cry than non-depressed people (they aren’t). It has helped determine whether people are more likely to spend money when they are sad (they are) and whether older people are more sensitive to grief than younger people (older people did report more sadness when they watched the scene). Dutch scientists used the scene when they studied the effect of sadness on people with binge eating disorders (sadness didn’t increase eating).
But that’s where this study gets it REALLY wrong. That scene in The Champ? No spolio, but the sad one? Not the saddest scene of all time. Saddest scene of all time after the jump.