How central are female characters to a movie?

A new study from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL) — which creates automatic tools for signal analysis and linguistic assessment — uncovers how media communicates about gender, race and age finding that in the majority of films, females roles are not central to the plot.

Using a tool the SAIL Lab developed in conjunction with existing cognitive and developmental language tools, researchers Anil Ramakrishna, Victor R. Martinez, Nikolaos Malandrakis, and Karan Singla, doctoral students in Computer Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, together with Professor Shrikanth Narayanan, the Niki and C. L. Max Nikias Chair in Engineering, were able to quantify the sophistication and the tone of language of 7000 characters and over 53,000 dialogues in nearly 1000 film scripts pulled from The Daily Script and IMSDb. The authors analyzed content of characters’ language and their interactions across gender, race and age. Beyond the cast, the researchers also looked at genre, the production teams across films including writers, directors and casting agents.

Read the full article in Science Alert