The Chemistry of How Movies Manipulate our Emotions


Movies are a wonderful thing that almost every person enjoys. Most people have a favorite movie and usually we determine our favorite movies based on how it made us feel. But why do movies make us feel things? There has to be a reason why movies are able to make us laugh, cry, and jump in fear. So, that is why I chose to do the chemistry of how movies manipulate our emotions and find out just how they sway our emotions.Composition of ...Adrenaline aka epinephrine-C9H13NO3





Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The main chemicals that make up the emotions during films are Adrenaline or epinephrine (C9H13NO3) are stimulated during scenes that are thrilling or scary. Norepinephrine (C8H11NO3) can also come up in particularly scary scenes because it is the chemical that controls the fight or flight response in humans. Then when we get to scenes that make us laugh or fill us with joy, dopamine (C8H11NO2) is released. Dopamine is derived from the chemical Tyrosine (C9H11NO3) which is made up of decarboxylation of dihydroxyphenylalanine. Lastly we get to scenes that make us cry and feel the helplessness of our characters, serotonin (C10H12N20) is produced. When we cry there is the production of the proteins Prolactin, Adrenocorticotropic, Leu-enkephalin, And the elements potassium and manganese.

Chemistry's Role

Chemistry plays a large role in the movie making experience. When making a movie there is the want and almost the need to create a lasting emotional connection with the audience, and to do that the audience needs to feel something. It is absolutely impossible to feel things without emotions. Emotions are 100% chemistry related throughout their molecular makeup. The bond of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen are all related in making us feel every emotion we have ever felt, specifically when watching a movie.

Background Research

There have been countless studies on how and what have caused emotions. Some people have felt that emotions are an interpretation of a physical response happening in the body, like the pumping a adrenaline in a dangerous situation is interpreted as fear. Others believe that emotions are the stimulations that are interpreted in the cortex of the brain. It is very difficult though to study emotions because there is no easy way we to record the emotions of people, we can only rely on how they tell us how they feel, and everybody feels and processes things differently.


How music affects our emotions during movies

How dopamine is released during music playing

The cinematic Mirroring Rule

How to emotionally connect with the audience

How camera, light, and characters help when connecting to audiences

How connections with the brain are made

Music is important during scenes

Emotions and what they are

Emotions vs Moods

Adrenaline aka epinephrine




What causes us to cry

About the Author

Internally Skyler Brauneis is an aging old man who wants nothing more than to live in the woods undisturbed by the “youths”, but externally she is a 16 year old girl who is trying really hard to try hard. Skyler spends her time doing comedy improv with the Funky Bunch and learning fun facts that are to no importance other than to impress strangers and sway them into thinking she is emotionally stable and content. Her spirit animal is an australian shepard and her middle name is Raine, just incase if you were wondering.