Presentation r. doust 2

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Presentation r. doust 2

  1. 1. Meta-effects of narrative towards a typology of suspense Richard Doust Phd program (part-time) richard.doust@gmail.com Supervisors: Richard Power, Paul Piwek Department of Computing Open University, UK Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.1
  2. 2. What is suspense ? Just how do narrative structures such as a Hitchcock film generate the well-known feeling known as suspense ? ⇒ Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.2
  3. 3. What is suspense ? Just how do narrative structures such as a Hitchcock film generate the well-known feeling known as suspense ? ⇒ What are the minimal requirements on formal de- scriptions of narratives such that we can ade- quately capture these phenomena and generate new narratives which contain them ? Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.2
  4. 4. Why does it matter ? way to create more ‘lively’ texts from fictional or technical storylines Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.3
  5. 5. Why does it matter ? way to create more ‘lively’ texts from fictional or technical storylines teaching tool for writing and film-making Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.3
  6. 6. Why does it matter ? way to create more ‘lively’ texts from fictional or technical storylines teaching tool for writing and film-making standard measure of suspensefulness over a wide range of domains Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.3
  7. 7. Why does it matter ? way to create more ‘lively’ texts from fictional or technical storylines teaching tool for writing and film-making standard measure of suspensefulness over a wide range of domains essential component of interactive drama systems Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.3
  8. 8. Suspense in scientific literature Gerrig and Bernardo (1994) Cheong and Young’s (2006) narrative generation Cognitive appraisal paradigm (OCC) Desire-frustration theory (Smuts et al., 2004) Brewer and Lichtenstein’s approach (1982) Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.4
  9. 9. Suspense in scientific literature Gerrig and Bernardo (1994) Suspense is greater the lower the number of solutions to the hero’s current problem that can be found by the reader. Cheong and Young’s (2006) narrative generation Cognitive appraisal paradigm (OCC) Desire-frustration theory (Smuts et al., 2004) Brewer and Lichtenstein’s approach (1982) Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.4
  10. 10. Suspense in scientific literature Gerrig and Bernardo (1994) Cheong and Young’s (2006) narrative generation Suspense level depends on the number and type of solutions reader can imagine in order to solve the problems facing the main character. Cognitive appraisal paradigm (OCC) Desire-frustration theory (Smuts et al., 2004) Brewer and Lichtenstein’s approach (1982) Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.4
  11. 11. Suspense in scientific literature Gerrig and Bernardo (1994) Cheong and Young’s (2006) narrative generation Cognitive appraisal paradigm (OCC) Suspense is conceptualised above all as an emotional experience that occurs over time: satisfaction or disappointment for hoped-for positive events and relief or anguish for previously feared negative events Desire-frustration theory (Smuts et al., 2004) Brewer and Lichtenstein’s approach (1982) Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.4
  12. 12. Suspense in scientific literature Gerrig and Bernardo (1994) Cheong and Young’s (2006) narrative generation Cognitive appraisal paradigm (OCC) Desire-frustration theory (Smuts et al., 2004) Suspense arises when ”we can’t do much about a future event, when we are powerless over a given narrative. The classic case of this is when we are onlookers of a film or a play. We have a desire to intervene but no possibility to do so.” Brewer and Lichtenstein’s approach (1982) Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.4
  13. 13. Is suspense a unified concept ? ... Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.5
  14. 14. Is suspense a unified concept ? Our working assumption: Yes. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.5
  15. 15. Is suspense a unified concept ? Our working assumption: Yes. Our starting point = list of verbally resumed story events. Recent studies by Speer et al. (2007) claim that people break narratives down into digestible chunks in this way. Can we discover (or uncover) narrative commonalities across different media ? Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.5
  16. 16. Brewer and Lichtenstein’s approach Psychological theory of narrative 3 major structures account for story enjoyment: surprise, curiosity and suspense. Suspense: an initiating event which could lead to significant consequences for a character in the narrative. ‘additional discourse material is placed between the initiating event and the outcome event, to encourage the build-up of suspense’ Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.6
  17. 17. The link to existing research Can we make the Brewer’s notions of narrative understanding robust ? How does placing additional material between initiating and outcome events increase the suspense felt in a given narrative ? Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.7
  18. 18. The link to existing research Can we make the Brewer’s notions of narrative understanding robust ? How does placing additional material between initiating and outcome events increase the suspense felt in a given narrative ? Can curiosity and surprise be formally linked to suspense to provide a theory of narrative enjoyment ? Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.7
  19. 19. Some theoretical contributions Definition of a Storybase - used for generating highly similar stories An argument in favour of the ‘conflicting predictions’ idea of suspense First steps towards a general typology of suspense phenomena First phase : to model intuitive notions of sus- pensefulness over a few basic stories, verifying the results on a sample of readers. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.8
  20. 20. System components STORYBASE generates a particular story INFERENCE a set of inferences triggered at each story step SUSPENSE HEURISTIC at each story step, we calculate the new suspense level Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.9
  21. 21. Storybase Starting and Stopping points - all the events allowed to play the role of first or last event in the story. - possible next steps for each Event links character in the story - constrain the choice of events Causal constraints given by the event links - can be positive or negative. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.10
  22. 22. A short example: The Park scene Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.11
  23. 23. A short example: The Park scene start, Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.12
  24. 24. A short example: The Park scene start, "walker goes to pathA", Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.12
  25. 25. A short example: The Park scene start, "walker goes to pathA", "strangeman sees walker at pathA", Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.12
  26. 26. A short example: The Park scene start, "walker goes to pathA", "strangeman sees walker at pathA", "strangeman hides behind bush", Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.12
  27. 27. A short example: The Park scene start, "walker goes to pathA", "strangeman sees walker at pathA", "strangeman hides behind bush", "walker goes to pathB", Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.12
  28. 28. A short example: The Park scene start, "walker goes to pathA", "strangeman sees walker at pathA", "strangeman hides behind bush", "walker goes to pathB", "walker goes to pathC", Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.12
  29. 29. A short example: The Park scene start, "walker goes to pathA", "strangeman sees walker at pathA", "strangeman hides behind bush", "walker goes to pathB", "walker goes to pathC", "strangeman prepares to jump out of bush"... Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.12
  30. 30. Inference 1. Inference of basic events from sensory input. (A perceived action in the narrative together with an ‘event classifier module’ produces a list of ordered events) 2. Inferences about the current state of the story (or deductions) 3. Inferences about the future state of the story (or predictions) Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.13
  31. 31. Storysofar: Visualisation 1 strangeman_surprises_walker_when_she_goes_to_pathCwalker_goes_to_pathD10 strangeman_in_park global_story_suspense_level__10 2 suspense__0at__1 people_in_parks_dont_want_to_be_surprised walker_in_park walker_doesnt_want_to_be_surprised 3 suspense__0at__2 the_bush_is_near_pathC 4 suspense__0at__3 walker_goes_to_pathA suspense__0at__4 5 people_walk_along_paths strangeman_watches_walker_at_pathA people_watch_people_they_are_interested_in walker_is_walking_along_pathABCD suspense__0at__5 6 strangeman_is_interested_in_walker walker_goes_to_pathB 7 suspense__0at__6 walker_goes_to_pathC 8 suspense__0at__7 strangeman_hides_behind_bush people_who_hide_want_to_surprise_others suspense__5at__8 9 strangeman_wants_to_surprise_someone_by_jumping_out_of_bush strangeman_prepares_to_jump_out_of_bush people_prepare_to_do_things_they_are_just_about_to_do strangeman_wants_to_surprise_walker_by_jumping_out_of_bush walker_goes_to_pathD suspense__5at__9 10 strangeman_wants_to_jump_out_of_bush_in_a_few_seconds strangeman_wants_to_surprise_walker_when_she_goes_to_pathC strangeman_surprises_walker_when_she_goes_to_pathC strangeman_jumps_out_of_bush salience_10 Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.14
  32. 32. ‘Time-distributed salience’ Salience of a prediction-conflict is ‘spread over’ or distributed over the relevant predictions that lead up to it. All events which could have a bearing on any of the predictions in the chain become for this reason subject to extra attention. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.15
  33. 33. The Park scene: Suspense= 0 start walker in park walker goes to pathA strangeman in park strangeman watches walker at pathA strangeman hides behind bush strangeman prepares to jump out of bush walker goes to pathB walker goes to pathC strangeman jumps out and attacks walker at pathC stop Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.16
  34. 34. The Park scene: Suspense=10 start walker in park walker goes to pathA strangeman in park strangeman watches walker at pathA strangeman hides behind bush strangeman prepares to jump out of bush walker goes to pathB walker goes to pathC the bush is near pathC strangeman jumps out and attacks walker at pathC stop Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.17
  35. 35. The Park scene: Suspense=14 start walker in park walker goes to pathA strangeman in park strangeman watches walker at pathA strangeman hides behind bush strangeman prepares to jump out of bush the bush is near pathC walker goes to pathB walker goes to pathC strangeman jumps out and attacks walker at pathC stop Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.18
  36. 36. The Park scene: Suspense=14 start walker in park walker goes to pathA strangeman in park strangeman watches walker at pathA strangeman hides behind bush the bush is near pathC walker goes to pathB walker goes to pathC strangeman prepares to jump out of bush strangeman jumps out and attacks walker at pathC stop Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.19
  37. 37. The Park scene: Suspense=16 start strangeman in park walker in park the bush is near pathC walker goes to pathA strangeman watches walker at pathA strangeman hides behind bush strangeman prepares to jump out of bush walker goes to pathB walker goes to pathC strangeman jumps out and attacks walker at pathC stop Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.20
  38. 38. Definition of suspense The suspense level of a narrative depends on the salience of predicted conflicts between two or more possible outcomes and on the amount of story time that these predicted conflicts remain unresolved and ‘active’. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.21
  39. 39. Two verifiable predictions 1. Suspense will increase as the number of predictions leading up to the conflict waiting to be confirmed decreases 2. A narrative can maximise suspense by keeping ‘active’ predicted incompatibilities with high salience over several story steps. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.22
  40. 40. Suspenseful narratives Suspenseful narratives engineer a spreading of the salience of key moments backwards in time, thus maintaining a kind of tension over sufficiently long periods for emotional effects to build up in the spectator. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.23
  41. 41. Towards a typology of suspense A mugger waiting for a walker First-order suspense to reach a certain point on a path in a park A plain-clothes policeman First-order suspense who is looking for someone in a park Will the policeman find the Second-order suspense mugger before the mugger attacks the walker ?! Most suspenseful films or novels rely heavily on a large number of possible predicted outcomes being ’active’ at any one time. . . Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.24
  42. 42. Film plot summaries Rad Decision: A Novel of Nuclear Power In 1970, the Fairview Nuclear Power Station is under construction near Brixton, Indiana. A young engineer named Steve Borden is there. Meanwhile, a Russian named Vitaly Kruchinkin leaves his beloved wife and becomes an undercover KGB spy in the United States. Steve Borden eventually becomes plant manager at Fairview Station. The plant also employs KGB agent Vitaly Kruchinkin, who is developing sabotage plans. Meanwhile, a Soviet mole has tipped off the U.S. about a spy working at an American nuclear plant, and the FBI begins to investigate. Then, soon after the horrific events at Chernobyl, Vitaly Kruchinkin is ordered to sabotage Fairview Station. He is told to make it look like an accident. FBI Agent Liz Rezhnitsky has learned of the sabotage orders and is closing in, but soon Steve Borden finds himself battling a crisis which could lead to a reactor meltdown. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.25
  43. 43. Film plot summaries 1970 d time1 time2 RUSSIA <LATERR KGB <SBB Chernobyl known by VKwife time5 VK event SB2 becomes manager of FNPS USA state | KGBGOAL | safety & good image for RUSSIA wife of VK motivates causes time6 action VK3 starts to work for KGB state | SB7 | is manager at FNPS FairviewNPS state |SB1 | works at FNPS state |VK2 | has a loving wife state |Wife |left alone motivates motivates motivates causes time7 action VK5 goes to USA action SB3 employs VK at FNPS place | FNPS1 | SB works at FNPS FBI employs action |VK4 | leaves his wife causes time8 action VK7 starts work at FNPS place | FNPS1 | SB is manager at FNPS state | FBIGOAL | safety & good image for USA LR Mole motivates motivates place | FNPS3 | VK works at FNPS action VK8 develops plans to destroy FNPS event Chernobyl nuclear accident state | LR1 | works for FBI state | Mole2 |works secretly for FBI state | Mole4 | works officially for KGB state | KGBZ | has info about agentX? who wants to destroy PowerStationY ? motivates enables leaks state | KGB1 | worried about image action Mole3 gets information Z from KGB motivates action | KGB2 | wants to tarnish image of USA motivates action | Mole5 | passes on Z to FBI motivates motivates motivates action | KGB3 | tells VK to destroy FNPS immediately action | KGB4 | tells VK to make destruction of FNPS look like an accident action | FBI1 | receives info Z from Mole motivates action | VK9 | plans to destroy FNPS immediately motivates action | FBI2 | tells LR to find information about X and Y in Z motivates time9 action | VK10 | sets into motion a process of meltdown at FNPS action | LR1 | starts to investigate X and Y causes place FNPS4CRISIS Crisis - start of possible meltdown motivates action | LR2 | finds information about X and Y in Z action |SB4 | tries to stop meltdown crisis at FNPS action | LR3 | hears about accident at FNPS causes action | VK11 | tries to stop SB stopping the crisis action | LR4 | guesses that FNPS has been sabotaged state |SB5 | believes meltdown crisis at FNPS is an accident motivates action | LR5 | goes to FNPS motivates event |FNPSLR | LR arrives at FNPS FNPSLR motivates time10 action | LR6 | tries to apprehend VK action LR7 neutralises VK action |SB6 | stops crisis at FNPS place |FNPS5 | Crisis averted The end Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.26
  44. 44. Arts/Science Goal: to create a performance piece in a theatrical setting which... uses and extends some of the basic ideas of the theory. could also result in a published article, perhaps in two different domains. Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.27
  45. 45. Thankyou for your... Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.28
  46. 46. Thankyou for your... attention ! richard.doust@gmail.com Meta-effects of narrative : R. DOUST – p.28

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