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Workshop Aims

Narratives are ubiquitous in human experience. We use them to communicate, convince, explain, and entertain. As far as we know, every society in the world has narratives, which suggests they are rooted in our psychology and serve an important cognitive function. It is becoming increasingly clear that, to truly understand and explain human intelligence, beliefs, and behaviors, we will have to understand why and to what extent narrative is universal and explain (or explain away) the function it serves. The aim of this workshop series is to address key questions that advance our understanding of narrative and our ability to model it computationally.

Special Focus: Cognitive Science

This workshop will be an appropriate venue for papers addressing fundamental topics and questions regarding narrative. The workshop will be held as a satellite event of the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (to be held in Berlin 31st July – 3rd August), and so will have a special focus on the cognitive science of narrative. Papers should be relevant to issues fundamental to the computational modeling and scientific understanding of narrative; we especially welcome papers relevant to the cognitive, linguistic, or philosophical aspects of narrative. Cognitive psychological or neuroscientific experimental work which may provide insights critical to computational modeling is appropriate for this workshop, and is encouraged. Discussing technological applications or motivations is not prohibited, but is not required. We accept both finished research and more tentative exploratory work.

Illustrative Topics and Questions

  • What cognitive competencies underlie narrative, and how may they be studied?
  • Can narrative be subsumed by current models of higher-level cognition, or does it require new approaches?
  • How do narratives mediate our cognitive experiences, or affect our cognitive abilities?
  • How are narratives indexed and retrieved? Is there a universal scheme for encoding episodic information?
  • What comprises the set of possible narrative arcs? Is there such a set? How many possible story lines are there?
  • Is narrative structure universal, or are there systematic differences in narratives from different cultures?
  • What makes narrative different from a list of events or facts? What is special that makes something a narrative?
  • What are the details of the relationship between narrative and common sense?
  • What shared resources are required for the computational study of narrative?
  • What should a “Story Bank” contain?
  • What shared resources are available, or how can already-extant resources be adapted to the study of narrative?
  • What impact do the purpose, function, and genre of a narrative have on its form and content?
  • What are appropriate formal or computational representations for narrative?
  • How should we evaluate computational and formal models of narrative?



Previous Meetings

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