Scientific Advances
Natural compound speeds bone growth
Astronomers spy massive stars in the making
Frog gene map a leap forward for humans
Sun-shy mums may raise MS risk in babies
Soft fossils provide new target for ET search
Mammoth blood brought back to life
Outdoor exercise can boost self esteem
Athletes on growth hormone 'sprint faster'
Countdown begins to 520 day 'Mars mission'
Warmer planet to stress humans: study
Plasma rocket to shorten space voyages
Vaccine may trigger infant epilepsy onset
'Fingerprinting' points to dusty Australia
The hole in the ozone layer: 25 years on
Humans interbred with Neanderthals: analysis
Herschel shows star formation is slowing
Washing hands makes tough choices easier
'Face-book' to measure pain in mice
Science gives clues to World Cup success
Human sigh acts as a reset button
Expert confirms Phar Lap arsenic theory
Dictionary blunder a matter of gravity
Warning on high-dose vitamin D
Calling mum makes you feel better
Movies manipulate our primal response
Evolutionary biologists say they have the scientific backing to confirm suspicions that movies exploit our innate response to alarm and distress calls.

To stoke fear and excitement or make it subside, movie sound engineers manipulate an audio pattern called "non-linear vocalisation," according a paper published in the journal Biology Letters.

Among land vertebrates, "non-linear vocalisation" applies to screeches, screams and calls, such as a baby's cry or a threat warning, that are louder, usually higher pitched and often sudden.

Designed to stand out against lower-frequency background noise, they have been used by humans and animals for millions of years to capture the attention of others in their community.

A team led by Daniel Blumstein at the University of California, Los Angeles, compiled a list of the 102 most popular films in Western cinema, as determined by public polls posted on Internet sites.

Twenty-four of the movies were adventure, 35 were dramatic (or 'sad', as described in some sites), 24 were horror and 19 were war films.

The researchers then extracted an iconic scene from the movie, documented whether it had sound effects or accompanying music and crunched it through a computer program that pinpointed changes in frequency and volume.

Adventure movies were big on male screams while horror movies had many noisy screams but little accompanying music, the investigators found.

War films had sharp fluctuations (up and down) in volume, while dramatic films used lower frequencies of noise, fewer abrupt changes in volume and more musical accompaniment than the other genres.

"Together, our results suggest that film-makers manipulate sounds to create non-linear analogues in order to manipulate our emotional responses," says the paper.

Climate change impact on malaria questioned
Single lens glasses can help prevent falls
Movies manipulate our primal response
Luminescent sharks become invisible
Synthetic biology research gets a hearing
Source of ancient carbon 'burp' detected
Why the goddess of love is in a spin
Computer program recognises online sarcasm
New dinosaur had record-sized horns
Physicists solve missing neutrino mystery
Milk from grass-fed cows may be better
Crabs caught spying on rivals' love claws
Lifestyle may not boost breast cancer gene risk
'Trade-off' gene for plants discovered
Pacific islands growing, not sinking
Caffeine addicts get no real perk
Velvet worm's deadly slime revealed
SpaceX cleared for Florida lift-off
Cyborg rights 'need debating now'
Sunlight shines on silver technology
Mountain biking as risky as football, diving
Dusty simulations may reveal planets
Legal fight over breast cancer gene
Unions call for urgent nano information
Solar panel attraction deadly for insects
Meat eaters munched many ways: study
Snakes may be in decline worldwide
Dogs dumbed down by domestication
Fossil sheds new light on 'dino-bird'
DNA 'spiderbot' is on the prowl
GM cotton use increases fruit pest problem
Warming to kill off a fifth of all lizards
Super massive black hole given the boot
Ball lightning could be 'all in the mind'
Immune system could be used to test for TB
Mobile phone cancer link unclear, study
Teen brain wired to take risks
Synchrotron probes Egyptian beads
Argonauts 'gulp' air to swim freely
Space station gets a new room
'Digital genome' to protect dying data formats
Sweep yields leads for new malaria drugs
Researchers snap signs of illegal fishing
Spectrum reveals supernova surprise
Scientists create synthetic life
Eavesdropping a waste of energy
Star caught eating its offspring
Megafauna die-off may have cooled planet
Hepatitis C no longer 'death sentence'
Atoms bring quantum computing closer
Visualisation staves off constant craving
Experts debate homeopathy funding
Visit Statistics