Predictability and Plausibility in Interactive Narrative Constructs: A Case for an ERP Study

Bjørn Anker Gjøl, Niels Valentin Jørgensen, Mathias Ramsø Thomsen, Luis Emilio Bruni

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


It is a common assumption that subjects unconsciously construct storyworlds in their minds when experiencing a narrative. In this article we suggest that this construction includes imagined rules and constraints that if violated may affect the subjects’ suspension of disbelief. In this direction, we examine whether the cognitive processing of people experiencing interactive narratives varies based on whether the outcomes of their actions are perceived to be predictable and plausible, according to the narrative context. In order to explore this hypothesis, we devised an event-related-potential experiment and created a video game featuring a number of player-instigated narrative events within three different categories: (a) predictable-plausible, (b) unpredictable-plausible, and (c) unpredictable-implausible. Based on the analysis of the N400 and P600 ERP components, our results show that there is a significant detectable difference between the three categories. Additionally, the results strongly indicate that experiencers of interactive narratives do indeed create storyworlds’ rules and constraints in their minds, and that the imagined rules of these worlds can be felt to be broken by implausible events.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Storytelling : 11th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2018 Dublin. December 5-8, 2018, Proceedings
EditorsR. Rouse , H. Koenitz , M. Haahr
Number of pages13
Publication date21 Nov 2018
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-04027-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-04028-4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2018
Event11th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling - Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 5 Dec 20188 Dec 2018


Conference11th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling
LocationTrinity College Dublin
Internet address
SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


  • Predictability
  • Plausibility
  • Narrative cognition
  • Interactive narratives
  • Psychophysiology
  • EEG
  • ERP
  • N400
  • P600


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