The role of music, sound effects & speech on absorption in a film: The congruence-associationist model of media cognition

Annabel J. Cohen, Kelti MacMillan, Robert Drew


The contribution of soundtracks that represents only one domain, speech, sound effects, and music to absorption or engagement of an audience in a story is discussed. Congruence-Association Model (C-A M) assumes that the audience's goal is to create a meaningful story from the material of the film that include scenes, text, music, effects, and speech. At lower level of analysis, the information in the distinct channels is analyzed for meaning and structures, where some information leaks upward to long-term memory which then provides inference about the narrative. The principle of association aggregates meaning for the five channels, and the principle of Congruence accounts for impact of shared structural features across channels. Judgement of realism and quality provide measures of control to assure that absorption judgments are based on a sense of general professionalism of the production.


Absorption; Cognitive systems; Mathematical models; Congruence-Association Model; Media cognition; Sound effects

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.