FEATURE29 March 2018

Mapping brains to measure storytelling

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Asia Pacific Energy Features Impact Media Technology

Scientists have used EEG to understand how the brain reacts to videos and determine what makes an audience engage with this type of content. Jane Bainbridge reports.


Storytelling is a favourite buzzword of late in the world of marketing. Narrative arcs have entered all corners of the business world, from insight presentations and advertising, through to social media campaigns and customer relationship management (CRM).

Evidence of its value has been presented in a paper by a group of researchers who used encephalography (EEG) to explore people’s responses to narrative videos. Looking specifically at energy efficiency social marketing, the team employed EEG to assess the role of attention, working memory, emotion and imagination in narrative transportation, and how these stages are ordered, temporally. 

Dr Tom van Laer, senior lecturer in marketing at Cass Business School – and one of the study’s authors – explains why they concentrated on these four areas. 

“Narrative transportation is defined as the extent to which a consumer empathises with the story’s characters ...