Tailored Influence Through Theory Based and Application-oriented Narrative Interventions
journal contributionposted on 2017-11-15, 12:01 authored by Ioannis (John) Benardis
Technical paper presented at the 2017 Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium.
Stories and narratives are a fundamental mode of human communication and a principal means that many socio-political institutions disseminate information to the public. Their ability to permeate every society, culture, ethnicity, race and religion, as well as their potential to influence, have established narratives as a theoretical and methodological point of investigation across many disciplines. While technology is an integral channel of deployment of persuasive narrative interventions, computing systems that support behaviour and attitude change typically function without leveraging the advantages of the established psychological theories and models of behaviour change to their potential. This research uses narratives as the means to provide a link between theory and application of behaviour change, by mapping narrative elements to both theoretical constructs and system design features. An integrative, conceptual model of behaviour change (ICMBC) is presented. A series of empirical studies of the persuasive power of narratives exploring both the delivery and reception aspect are reported. These factors suggest an association of relatability of a narrative to its potential audience and strength of impact of the narrative in terms of influence. An app is developed to provide storytellers, policy and decision makers with a platform to tailor potential persuasive narrative interventions according to the intended audience, providing a rigorous digital solution that could deliver targeted messages of influence applicable to specific topics, including defence and security contexts.