156566740 center-for-strategic-studies-meeting-notes-3-10-12


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“Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects”, DARPA

In 2012, the CSC was awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) a $6.1 million dollar research grant to study the neurobiology of narrative comprehension, validate narrative theories and explore the connection between narrative and persuasion. This groundbreaking research study will employ multi-modal neuroimaging, combining the temporal resolution of EEG with the spatial resolution of fMRI. The project seeks to validate narrative theories that to date have rested on interpretive approaches, rather than empirical, neurophysiological study. In so doing, the project aims to discover the neural network(s) involved in narrative comprehension and persuasion, and to come to a further understanding of how elements of existing narrative theories can induce or disrupt narrative understanding by the presence or absence of those structural components of narrative.

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156566740 center-for-strategic-studies-meeting-notes-3-10-12

  1. 1. 1. Pre-meeting a. Reading and review b. Re-think c. Do the story board (Scott and I think this means not a literal story board, but get a picture in your mind of how the project will unfold 2. 1st half of the meeting – Research a. Update on budget negotiation b. Red Team exercise on dystopian narrations of our project and responses c. Big picture i. Draw the paradigm ii. Draw the design 3. 2nd half of the meeting – Video production plan Next Meeting How to do manipulations for Phase II. Revisit issue: Randomize within blocks as well as between? Also when do persuasion measures happen? Should the conditions be balanced or just randomized, or some combination? What do we mean by persuasion, how will we measure it, how persuasive should the videos be? Could you have a neutral behavior request like “do you want to donate money to us.” Red Team Exercise Audiences  Colleagues/faculty  Press (i.e. Danger Room)  IRB (ASU/BNI)  Activists—tinfoil hat people  U higher admin  State Government
  2. 2. Red Arguments  DARPA is evil  This project is aimed at creating bad technologies like o mind control o A narrative ray-gun  This project o Is culturally insensitive o Will cause ethnic/religious conflict o Is racist  This will create legal liability  This is a corruption of science and scientific ethos  This will help the government interfere in religion o Left: You’re trying to understand religion so you can shove it down our throats o Right: You’re trying to dissect and dismantle religion o Muslims: You’re trying to find chinks in the armor of Islam so you can destroy it Blue Responses  DARPA has created a lot of technologies that are of great benefit to society. It has created the internet, GPS, computers, and just about any other modern technology.  The issue of what is “the good” and that’s not unique to this project.  This project contributes to the words-not-bullets posture for the military. This is a trend for them because they’ve learned the can’t shoot their way out of problems.  Our agenda is scientifically focused o Question is how the brain works, how it responds to narrative, what makes narrative persuasive o There are clinical implications and benefits. Could influence work on psychotherapy, PTSD, depression  Persuasion is not the same thing as “mind control.”  Ray-gun is implausible. fMRI power is overblown. It requires willing and cooperative subjects. Our focus is on what people do, not how to change it.  Religion manipulation is to provide cultural narrative context. We’re not studying religion per se. Guidelines  Avoid discussing Phase III. It’s optional and we have no idea if it will happen  Use the word “persuasion” rather than the word “influence” when talking about the project  “Disrupt” in the project refers to affecting stories/narrative. It’s verbal persuasion, not disrupting the brain.
  3. 3. References  People who’ve worked on brain differences and sex preferences. Take a page from their book to see how this is discsussed/ justified o Bailey (Northwestern). Controversial. Perhaps a negative example. o Simon Levaye gay vs. straight brains  Cultural Neuroscience Conference o Adam has a paper about how to avoid being a racist  Narrative Therapy o Oh drive folder. Narrative therapy o Pennebaker Has study showing that narrative can help people recover from negative experiences. o “Imaginal exposure” (PTSD)
  4. 4. Details on persuasion measurements:  During F = manipulation check, emotional appraisal, attitude measure  PB is persuasion behavioral measure at the end of each block