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Measuring narrative engagement: The heart tells the story

Richardson, D; Griffin, N; Zaki, L; Stephenson, A; Yan, J; Curry, T; Noble, R; ... Devlin, J; + view all (2018) Measuring narrative engagement: The heart tells the story. BioRxiv: Cold Spring Harbor. Green open access

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Abstract

Stories play a fundamental role in human culture. They provide a mechanism for sharing cultural identity, imparting knowledge, revealing beliefs, reinforcing social bonds and providing entertainment that is central to all human societies. Here we investigated the extent to which the delivery medium of a story (audio or visual) affected conscious and sub-conscious engagement with the narrative. Although participants self-reported greater involvement for watching video relative to listening to auditory scenes, stronger physiological responses were recorded for auditory stories. Sensors placed at their wrists showed higher and more variable heart rates, greater electrodermal activity, and even higher body temperatures. We interpret these findings as physiological evidence that the stories were more cognitively and emotionally engaging when presented in an auditory format. This may be because listening to a story, rather than watching a video, is a more active process of co-creation, and that this imaginative process in the listener's mind is detectable on the skin at their wrist.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Measuring narrative engagement: The heart tells the story
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1101/351148
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1101/351148
Language: English
Additional information: The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-ND 4.0 International license.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057290
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