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

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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.

Written by Mary Lee

March 28, 2014 at 8:02 am

Posted in Research