How do audiences react to interacting with an audiovisual narrative? Notes about some psychological responses when deciding the plot

2 April 2014, Wednesday, 3:30pm

CNM Meeting Room, AS6, #03-33

In the nineties, a group of researchers associated to the Audiovisual Communication and Advertising Department at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, designed and produced the first interactive fiction for the Canadian “Videotron” system, In just a few seconds (15 minutes). The programme allowed users to form up to 24 different versions of the story. The participants’ experiences were observed in a laboratory setting. After which, 33 of them were interviewed in-depth about their experience. The interviewers wanted to obtain information for the production of these works and to identify relevant variables explaining the gratification of their consumption.

The analysis of responses of the interviews showed that participants had high levels of gratification from interacting with the fiction and formed an intense relationship with the content. In fact, most of the participants manifested that they had identified more with the protagonist than they regularly did in a traditional fiction. Responses also showed that participants had enjoyed co-constructing the story: “… it’s like feeling you’re God when deciding the life of the characters.”

This experience was the genesis of an exploratory research programme that has been carried out for some years. It inspired us to continue advancing in the understanding of the psychological relationship that audiences experiment when they have to decide about the continuation of a plot in an interactive fiction.

In this presentation, the speaker shares some of the results obtained during our research programme. Through the application of experimental methodologies we have sought to answer questions such as: What are the effects of interacting with the plot in the identification with the characters, enjoyment, gratification, or emotions of audiences? To what extent receiver’s personality can predict enjoyment of interacting with the plot? Are there cross-cultural differences in the reactions to interacting with a narrative?

Maria T. Soto-Sanfiel is Associate Professor at the Audiovisual Communication and Advertising Department at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB, Barcelona, Spain). She is researcher linked to the Center for Ambience Intelligence and Accessibility of Catalonia (CAIAC -UAB), where she is Coordinator of the Design, Accessibility and Reception Research Area.

Since 2009, she has been directing, ( an IP television station for the dissemination of high advanced science. She also co-directs (, an IP experimental radio that offers programs of all genres based on scientific knowledge to different audiences.

Maite holds a PhD in Audiovisual Communication (UAB). She is Magister in Interactive Communication (Telecommunications and Multimedia) (UAB), and Magister in New Audiovisual Technologies and Advertising (UAB). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Communications (Advertising and Public Relations) (UCAB), and a Bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences (Journalism) (UAB).

Maite has worked as TV Journalist and Producer (in Venezuela and Spain). She was awarded with the Venezuelan National Journalist Prizeas producer of the best television show. In 2010, she directed “Extreme Universe”, awarded as the best scientific audiovisual program contest (CPAN Outreach 2010 National Center for Particle Physics, Astroparticle and Nuclears / Consolider -Ingenio 2010). Currently, she is finishing the post-production of the 30 min TV documentary: “That’s the story. Memoirs of Nobel Prize awarded Roy J. Glauber on the Manhattan Project”.  Dr. Glauber was one of the youngest scientific enrolled to work in the making of the Atomic Bomb, and the only one who survives.

As researcher, Maite is currently working on the project HBB4ALL of the European Commission, and is the IP of a project for the R+D National Research Plan of Spain on the attitudes of audiovisual professionals about science in media.

Her rmain research interests are linked to popular science, reception of media message (from a psychological point of view), Interactive TV, and voice and audio reception. In 2004, she received the National Research Award on Mass Communication by the Catalonian Government.

Call for Special Issue of Global Media Journal on “Globalization, Financialization, and New Imperialism’

Theme of Fall 2014 Issue: Financialization, Communication, and New Imperialism
Guest Editors:
Mohan J. Dutta, National University of Singapore
Mahuya Pal, University of South Florida

The global financial crisis marks on one hand the ruptures in the universalized logic of neoliberal capitalism as a framework of global development, and on the other hand, narrates the story of the increasing consolidation of power in the hands of the global elite achieved through the language of the free market. As we have argued in our earlier work on globalization and communication, meanings constitute the center of global financialization, consolidation of wealth in the hands of the global elite, and the deployment of technocratic efficiency as the solution to development narrowly conceived as economic growth (Dutta, 2011; Pal & Dutta, 2008). Even as these shifts in global power depict the new networks of power that operate globally, connecting spaces of resource consolidation, the relationships of power are played out in uneven terrains of global flows, reflecting the inequalities between geographic spaces. In these relationships of space, power, and finance, meanings offer guiding frameworks as they create the bases for the values, taken for granted assumptions, and discourses of practice. Of utmost importance in these shifts of power are the networks of finance that reify and reproduce global patterns of inequalities. What then are the key meanings that circulate in these spaces of finance and what is the relationship of these meanings to the old and new imperialisms that mark the globe. This special issue of “Financialization, Communication, and New Imperialism” will explore the interpenetrating networks of meaning in contemporary global capitalism. We invite both theoretical as well as methodological pieces that explore the role of communication in the financialization of the global economy.

Broad topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Meanings of finance in global networks
  • The ways in which discourse works to constitute and reproduce global financial policies
  • The uses of communication to establish financial policies
  • Reproduction of financial identities and relationships in global spaces of capital
  • The articulations of state, market, and capital in new networks of new imperialism(s)
  • Relationships between old and new forms of imperialism, the overarching role of financialization, and the constitutive role of communication.

Graduate student research: In keeping with the mission of the Global Media Journal to provide opportunities for graduate student publication, this issue will have a graduate research section edited by Mahuya Pal, University of South Florida. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically. For submission guidelines, please visit

Please direct all inquiries and submissions to guest editor Mohan J. Dutta, National University of Singapore at Direct graduate student research inquiries to Mahuya Pal, University of South Florida,
Global Media Journal is an official publication of the Global Communication Association in conjunction with the Center for Global Studies, Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, Indiana, USA. Its editions are supported by their respective universities around the world.

Dutta, M. (2011). Communicating social change: Structure, culture, agency. New York: Routledge.
Pal, M., &  Dutta, M. J. (2008). Theorizing resistance in a global context: processes, strategies and tactics in communication scholarship. In C. Beck (Ed.), Communication Yearbook, 32, 41-87. New York, NY: Routledge.

For information about the journal, visit: (new platform and issues)  (old platform and issues)

CNM at NUS Open Day

By Samuel Cho, Corrine Goh and Chia Pui San, Year 2, CNM Society

It was a busy yet energizing Saturday for CNM Society and their professors as they fielded a flood of questions from prospective freshmen at the NUS Open Day 2014 on 15 March.The hottest question of the day was “Could you tell me more about the courses at Communications & New Media?”.  The visitors were pleased with what they heard. They thought the CNM interdisciplinary offerings offered a variety of modules which were both theoretically and practice-oriented.

One  parent commented that the wide range of modules meant that students would have the invidious challenge of having to decide within a span of three to four years, which mods to take, given that they were equally attractive.

Finally, the visitors also expressed appreciation of the chance to directly interact with CNM seniors and faculty and have their questions addressed and answered in detail.

CARE’s Heart to Heart programme helps women become healthier

By Sarah Comer and Daniel Teo, Research Assistants, Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation

CNM’s research lab, Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) launched a women’s heart health improvement programme called “Heart to Heart” at National University Hospital on 18 March 2014. The programme involves a group of seven Singaporean women with heart conditions taking part in a heart health instructional session comprising lessons conducted in Mandarin by an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a dietician.

“Heart to Heart” was designed by an advisory committee comprising women suffering  from heart conditions. The larger aim of getting the women involved in programme development was to empower and engage Singaporean women to take charge of their own heart health.

“With the launch of the first session, we are reminded of the power of the voices of the women in our study who developed the vision and the call for content for this programme,” said CARE research assistant, Sarah Comer.  The committee worked from the research findings of a study jointly conducted by CARE and the Women’s Hearth Health Clinic of the National University Heart Centre, Singapore.

The study consisted of interviews and focus groups with female heart patients from various ethnicities and income backgrounds to find out about the problems they faced in maintaining their cardiovascular health. “Heart to Heart” participants will attend two group instructional sessions during a four-month period. They will also meet with clinicians individually to set and review lifestyle goals which aim to improve their cardiovascular health. Instructional sessions will be carried out in English, Mandarin and Malay, with assistants on hand to translate the lessons into six other languages and dialects.

According to the Singapore Heart Foundation, heart disease is the leading cause of death for Singaporean women. One out of every three deaths among Singaporean women can be attributed to heart disease. The kinds of heart conditions that women are more prone to differ from that of men due to biological factors such as menopause.

For more background information on the state of women’s heart health in Singapore and the initial study, please refer to this issue of the CARE White Paper.

"Heart to Heart" participants learning breathing techniques from an occupational therapist for stress management. (Photo credit: Julio Etchart)

“Heart to Heart” participants learning breathing
techniques from an occupational therapist for
stress management. (Photo credit: Julio Etchart)

CARE researchers attending to participants of a "Heart to Heart" instructional session. Photo credit: Julio Etchart

CARE researchers attending to participants of a “Heart to Heart” instructional session. (Photo credit: Julio Etchart)

Designing Narratives of Place: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Visualizing Cultural History

26 March 2014, Wednesday, 3:30pm

CNM Meeting Room, AS6, #03-33

In an increasingly screen-based society, technologies mediate the ways in which we experience, consume, and share experiences of the everyday. Scholars and designers have a responsibility to develop creative and thoughtful ways to intervene and engage difference, identity, and community in our mediated spaces. This responsibility is heightened in increasingly dense urban environments that are rapidly shifting, and where we are likely to lose sight of the human element of urbanization. Yet, we realize that it is the people who inhabit and move through cities that shape its cultural history and comprise the often ephemeral and under-represented narratives of city spaces. How can interdisciplinary design practice create the opportunity for developing innovative ways to define and envision our sense of place? This talk will showcase a selection of media-rich interactive projects that address these issues, showing how conceptual approaches to design thinking can contribute to exciting possibilities in communicating design, humanities, and social science research to wider public audiences.

KristyKangKristy Kang is an award winning media artist and scholar whose work explores narratives of identity formation and cultural memory. She received her Ph.D. in Media Arts and Practice at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media at NTU. Her research interests include histories and theories of digital media arts, database cinema, animation, spatial and mobile narrative, and transnational media and ethnic studies between the U.S. and Asia. She is a founding member of The Labyrinth Project—a research initiative on interactive narrative and digital scholarship at the University of Southern California that has produced a range of interactive cultural histories using new media. These works have been published and presented both internationally and nationally at conferences and museums including the Getty Research Institute, The ZKM Center for Art and Media, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and received numerous awards including the Jury Award for New Forms at the 2004 Sundance Online Film Festival.  For further information, visit

Open science and e-science

4 February 6pm onwards, CNM Meeting Room

Ivan Zimine from talked with science communication enthusiasts on open science and novel ways scientists share data and improve the ethics and goals of science communication. He also presented his cloud solution for open science data. The audience also enjoyed the unique chance of learning more about his project on improving how MRI data are shared and how to support the publishing of data.

Open science has the potential to increase the rate of discoveries and improve the quality of scientific output across all disciplines (“The New Einsteins Will Be Scientists Who Share”, Wall Street Journal, October 2011). Much more than access to academic publications, open science is sharing of scientific knowledge which includes the sharing of experimental protocols, analytic methods and most importantly, sharing of experimental data. Open science sharing happens within legal frameworks inspired by open source and creative common movements.



Media, Community, and the Social Photograph

5 March, 2014, Wednesday,  6 pm – 7 pm
IDEATION room, Keio-NUS CUTE Centre, IDMI #02-01-01 I-Cube Building
21 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore 119613 ( map: )

A decade ago we saw the birth of Flickr, a media website for social photo sharing. Since then, social media websites have grown to encompass many types of photo, video, audio, and even hyper-link sharing. Many researchers have conducted work on these social-websites in general yet there still exists many opportunities to explore how people engage with media online, specifically multimedia, in social contexts. In this talk, I will highlight some new challenges for researchers studying social photography and present a few recent findings from my lab’s investigation of Flickr which include geographic annotation of photographs and regions, community congregation online, and social engagement.
David Ayman Shamma (Yahoo! Research, USA) is a senior research scientist and head of the HCI Research group at Yahoo! Labs and the scientific liaison to Flickr. His personal research investigates synchronous environments and connected experiences both online and in-the-world. Focusing on creative expression and sharing frameworks, he designs and prototypes systems for multimedia-mediated communication, as well as, develops targeted methods and metrics for understanding how people communicate online in small environments and at web scale.

Research Talks by CNM Graduate Students: Joel Gn, Shobha Vadrevu and Chiang Jing Ying

March 12 2014, Wednesday, 2:30pm
CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33
“Be With Me”: Cute Technology and the Simulation of Affect
This study examines the anthropomorphic project of cuteness and its humanisation via an artificiality that involves the augmentation of the human’s biological form. It is in this augmentation that cuteness becomes an affective quality, insofar as it bridges the gap between the otherness of the object and the one who beholds it. Although cuteness is used as a design element in a variety of interactive technologies, I argue that this particular design element or aesthetic is no less technological than the object it attempts to humanize. My thesis uses critical theory to understand cuteness as a form of technology encompassing ambiguities that are symptomatic of the post-social milieu where humans have come to share intimate connections between the technologies they consume.
joel Joel Gn is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Communications and New Media, National      University of Singapore. His dissertation will critique the aesthetic of cuteness and its metaphorical implications within a technological space.




Online Political Memes and Youth Political Engagement in Singapore <>
This paper explores political actors’ practice of posting static visual online memes on social media in Singapore to convey messages commenting on the ruling party and its policies. The paper presents a discussion based on semiotic analysis of selected memes, and interviews with Singaporeans aged 18-24 about their responses to memes, to understand how circulation of memes might influence quality of political engagement. Results suggest that while memes hold potential for enhancing political engagement among a citizenry that is often seen as depoliticised, youths’ perceptions of the memes do not allow for deterministic conclusions about their efficacy in this regard. Rather, the popularity of memes in general as devices of humour, cultural resonance and identity representations suggests that the appropriation of cyberculture for localized political means does have potential for socialising citizens to become critical of the status quo as part of a wider network of political action. The paper was written and presented with Dr. T.T. Sreekumar at the AoIR conference in Denver last year.

Shobha Vadrevu is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. She hold a Masters in Educational and Social Research from the University of London’s Institute of Education. Her research interests include Critical New Media Theory, ICTS and Pedagogy, Political Communication and Youth and Citizenship. A trained teacher who has classroom experience in teaching at the secondary school level, her specific focus on the relationships and contexts of youth media use grew out of her interactions with young people in school settings.



Exploring the relationships between interactivity and anticipation in interactive art

This paper explores one specific form of aesthetic experience: Anticipation, and aims to understand how anticipation emerges through interactivity as an aesthetic response in interactive art. Previous work that has tried to address anticipation as a form of experience can be grouped into three categories in: 1) Static media such as literary text; 2) Dynamic, temporal media such as music and film; and 3) Interactive media such as interactive stories, games, and interactive art. This paper seeks to address the following questions: what are the frameworks and models used to understand anticipation in the related disciplines, and how can these be adapted to interactive art? And if they are not adaptable, what kind of models might be relevant? The study will present an initial survey of the literature related to anticipation, interactivity, and art, and identify and compare the various frameworks. The contribution of this paper is to develop an understanding of the degree to which the current frameworks from other disciplines can be applied to interactive art, and if not, to identify the issues that need to be addressed. This will inform a set of research questions for future study.

Chiang Jing Ying is an instructor at the at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. She is also pursuing her PhD, and currently, preparing for her qualifying examinations. Her research is about understanding the correlations between interactivity and aesthetic response in interactive art.

Calibr8-ing Technology with Art at Random Blends 2014

By Dawn Tan, Calibr8, Media Relations

Random Blends 2014 drew a crowd of 300 people with its playful and interactive exhibits.

Random Blends 2014 drew a crowd of 300 people with its playful and interactive exhibits.

Over 30 interactive digital works by students of the Communications and New Media department (CNM) are featured at Random Blends 2014, an annual showcase. This year, Random Blends 2014 was officially launched at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands on March 1, 2014. With more than 300 visitors attending the exhibition on the first day, Random Blends was off to a roaring start.

Professor Mohan J. Dutta, Head of the CNM said, “[Calibr8] showcases the artistic and creative expressions of our students that experiment with performance across a variety of media.”

Gracing the launch was the Guest of Honour, Ms. Sim Ann, the Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Education, along with special guests, Ms. Georgette Tan, Group Head of Communications for the Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa region at MasterCard, and Mr. Pann Lim, the award-winning creative director of Kinetic Design and Advertising.

From left: Professor Mohan J. Dutta, Head of the CNM department, NUS, Ms. Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Education, Mr. Pann Lim, the award-winning creative director of Kinetic Design and Advertising, and Ms. Georgette Tan, Group Head of Communications for the Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa region at MasterCard

From left: Professor Mohan J. Dutta, Head of the CNM department, NUS, Ms. Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Education, Mr. Pann Lim, the award-winning creative director of Kinetic Design and Advertising, and Ms. Georgette Tan, Group Head of Communications for the Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa region at MasterCard

In its sixth installation, Random Blends 2014 brings into focus experiential learning by departing from traditional static displays and providing visitors a hands-on opportunity to engage with the immersive exhibits and also with fellow visitors.

Yang Kai Ting, a 23-year-old visitor said that, “The interactive touch screen features and the creative digital works at Random Blends brought a breath of fresh air to the museum space. The exhibits were not just visually stimulating, they also questioned our growing reliance on technology.”

This year’s theme is ‘Calibr8’– a play on the word ‘Calibrate’ that redefines the relationship between the visitors and the exhibits in the museum space.

Tan Kai En, 25, the mastermind behind this year’s theme said the idea of calibration struck him when he was “calibrating his computer screen.”

“I wanted to invoke the sense of constant negotiation going on inside us when we are at an exhibition,” said Tan, a CNM student. “I also changed the ending letters “ate” to the number eight with a handshake sign to bring forth the notion that calibration is a two-way track.”

This student-organised exhibition provided great exposure to CNM students who experienced first-hand the process of setting up and organising an exhibition from scratch.

“It is a fruitful learning journey for all of us,” said Regina Liew, 23, one of the creators of the interactive comic, Se7en the Reaper, a highlight of the exhibition. “We learnt to think not only about the end-product of our works but also how to present it to the audience in a social context.”

Visitors get together to play Infiltration the Forbidden City, a featured board game.

Visitors get together to play Infiltration the Forbidden City, a featured board game.

To Yew Shiyun, 23, one of the brains behind Infiltrating the Forbidden City, a featured exhibit, it was satisfying to see people beyond NUS, interacting with “our creations”. She also thought that the whole experience would be useful for students in their future professions.

Exhibition Details

Random Blends 2014 is open to the public from March 2 to March 6, 2014. Visitors can view the exhibits from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and weekends, at ArtScience Galleries (Level 4) of the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is located at 10 Bayfront Avenue. Admission to the showcase is free.

For more information about Random Blends 2014, please visit and the Random Blends 2014 Facebook page at