Psychophysiological aspects of media-based Holocaust reception

Sergii Tukaiev, Volodymyr Rizun, Yurii Havrylets, Igor Zyma, Juergen Grimm, Andreas Enzminger

Publikation: KonferenzbeitragKonferenzpapier


The studies of the Holocaust are usually focused on the long-term consequences on the survivors. The psychophysiological impact of the Holocaust hasn’t been studied previously. Measurements of the real reactions to the traumatic past events present a serious challenge for the researchers in social and clinical psychology and neuroscience. The purposes of this study, a part of the project "Broadcasting History in the Transnational Space", were to investigate the people's reactions to the real cruelty in the historical documentaries and to identify the relationship between different types of documentary sequences (archival footage, witnesses to history and moderators). 51 healthy volunteers (25 women and 26 men, aged 18-35 years, Mage=23, SD=2,83), first-fourth year students of the University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria) participated in this study. The first group (26 volunteers) was demonstrated the original Holocaust documentary "Night and Fog" (1955, France, 16.02 min). The second group (25 volunteers) was presented the same documentary with inclusion the witnesses to history and moderators (24.05 min). We estimated the spectral power density of all frequencies from 0.2-45 Hz. Сonducted content analysis demonstrated that the viewing of documentary segments depicting war violence, human suffering caused the most pronounced activation changes in the information-analytical cognitive processes of neural networks in the onset of the documentary. We detected the actualization of attention (depression alpha2 rhythm), as well as semantic-cognitive processes (depression alpha3 rhythm). The negative emotional content led to the development of intellectual processes of adaptation (no changes in the theta, alpha and beta rhythms) at the end of original documentary. It was demonstrated the weakening effect of the witness testimonies on the emotional response to video. In this case, the documentary demand less attention and less emotional efforts for emotional evaluation of visual information, analysis, retrieval of information from memory and semantic processes. At the end of the documentary watching, we detected the increase in the spectral power of alpha3, beta2 and gamma bands indicated the active state of the top-down cortical control systems, the activation of emotional-cognitive processes, awareness processes, higher associative processes. Our results suggest that historical violence exert significant influence on the psychological condition of the participants.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Sept. 2018
VeranstaltungNeuroscience 2018 - San Diego, San Diego, USA/Vereinigte Staaten
Dauer: 3 Nov. 20187 Nov. 2018


KonferenzNeuroscience 2018
Land/GebietUSA/Vereinigte Staaten
OrtSan Diego