Using Virtual Narratives to Explore Children's Story Understanding

Porteous, J, Charles, F, Smith, C, Cavazza, M, Mouw, J and van den Broek, P 2017, 'Using Virtual Narratives to Explore Children's Story Understanding', in S. Das, E. Durfee, K. Larson, M. Winikof (ed.) Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2017), São Paulo, Brazil, 8-12 May 2017, pp. 773-781.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Using Virtual Narratives to Explore Children's Story Understanding
Author(s) Porteous, J
Charles, F
Smith, C
Cavazza, M
Mouw, J
van den Broek, P
Year 2017
Conference name AAMAS 2017
Conference location São Paulo, Brazil
Conference dates 8-12 May 2017
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2017)
Editor(s) S. Das, E. Durfee, K. Larson, M. Winikof
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery
Place of publication New York, United States
Start page 773
End page 781
Total pages 9
Abstract Interactive Narratives are systems that use automated narrative generation techniques to create multiple story variants which can be shown to an audience, as virtual narratives, using cinematic staging techniques. Previous research in this area has focused on assessment of aspects such as the quality of the automatically generated narratives and their acceptance by the audience. However in our work we deviate from this to explore the use of interactive narratives to support cognitive psychology experiments in story understanding. We hypothesized that the use of virtual narratives would enable narrative comprehension to be studied independently of linguistic phenomena. To assess this we developed a demonstration interactive narrative featuring a virtual environment (Unity3D engine) based on a pre-existing children's story which allows for the generation of variants of the original story that can be "told" via visualization in the 3D world. In the paper we introduce a narrative generation mechanism that provides control over insertion of cues facilitating story understanding, whilst also ensuring that the plot itself is unaffected. An intuitive user interface allows experimenters to insert and order cues and specific events while the narrative generation techniques ensure these requests are effected in a consistent fashion. We also report the results of a field experiment with children (age 9-10) that demonstrates the potential for the use of virtual narratives in story understanding experiments. Our results demonstrated acceptance of virtual narratives, the usability of the system and the impact of cue insertion on inference and story understanding.
Subjects Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Virtual Agents
Interactive Storytelling
Narrative Modeling
Planning
Game-based Education
Copyright notice Copyright © 2017, International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (www.ifaamas.org). All rights reserved.
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