Article thumbnail

Data_Sheet_1_Fact vs. Affect in the Telephone Game: All Levels of Surprise Are Retold With High Accuracy, Even Independently of Facts.docx

By Fritz Breithaupt (5989496), Binyan Li (5989499), Torrin M. Liddell (5989502), Eleanor B. Schille-Hudson (5989505) and Sarah Whaley (72508)


<p>When people retell stories, what guides their retelling? Most previous research on story retelling and story comprehension has focused on information accuracy as the key measure of stability in transmission. This paper suggests that there is a second, affective, dimension that provides stability for retellings, namely the audience affect of surprise. In a large-sample study with multiple iterations of retellings, we found evidence that people are quite accurate in preserving all degrees of surprisingness in serial reproduction – even when the event that produced the surprisingness in the original story is dropped or changed. Thus, we propose that the preservation of affect is an implicit goal of retelling: merely do retellers not recall highly surprising events better, but rather they register all levels of surprisingness precisely and aim to surprise their implied audience to same degree. This study used 2,389 participants.</p><p>Significance Statement: Story retelling is a process whereby cultural information is transmitted horizontally across social networks and vertically down generations. For the most part, retelling research has focused on the relevance and stability of factual information, “who did what, where, when, and why”; comparatively little is known about the transmission of affective information. We suggest that affect can serve as a second axis of stability for retelling, partially independent from factual information. In serial reproduction tasks modeled after the telephone game, we find that surprisingness of stories is well preserved across retellings – even when the facts and events of the story are not. The findings are significant for the communication of information, and thereby also the stability and transformation of culture in general.</p

Topics: Applied Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Neuroscience and Physiological Psychology, Organizational Behavioral Psychology, Personality, Social and Criminal Psychology, Gender Psychology, Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology, Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Psychology not elsewhere classified, Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified, narrative, surprise, narrative affect, serial reproduction, event, cultural transmission
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02210.s001
OAI identifier:
Provided by: FigShare
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.