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Investigating narrative “effects”: the case of suspense

Richard Doust, Thursday 3rd June, 10:15am - 10:30 am, Student Presentations 1, JLB Meeting Room 10

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28 May 2010

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He is from the performing arts.

Starts with “what is suspense” – and relates this to a Hitchcock film. Suspense creates more lively texts from fictional or technical storylines, essential component of interactive drama systems.

Is now talking about suspense in scientific literature: narrative generation, cognitive appraisal paradigm, desire-frustration theory (like James Bond hanging on a cliff).

Is suspense a unified concept? And he says generally it is. Need to find the starting point.

Now talking about Brewer and Lichtenstein’s approach to suspense which there are 3 major structures.

He is looking to see if suspense has any link between (missed that bit!)

His argument is that conflicting predictions is an idea for creating suspense

Storybase, inference, suspense heuristic: system components.

Storybase: Starting and stopping points, event links, causal constraints

He is demonstrating a park scene to show suspense. He is showing a decision diagram/model on the visualisation of suspense. He is showing how putting different events at different points in time in the story, the suspense changes.

Time distributed salience: salience of a prediction-conflict is spread over or distributed over the relevant predictions that lead to it

He’s now talking about first-order suspense and second order suspense (the latter films usually use).


How does the suspense index works? i.e. what is the difference between suspense of 10 or 14. He explains that he hasn’t explained this fully in the presentation but there is a calculation based on salience – and it based on the number of predictions.

How does having an unpredictable/ twist in a story works with the suspense? He mentions that there is work in this but it is not necessarily suspense but rather a surprise.

09:24 on 3 June 2010 (Edited 20:15 on 3 June 2010)

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presentation on suspense

presentation on suspense

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presentation on suspense

presentation on suspense

added by Richard Doust