Assessing the Appeal Power of Narrative Performance by using Eyeblink Synchronization among Audience

Assessing the Appeal Power of Narrative Performance by using Eyeblink Synchronization among Audience

Ryota Nomura (The University of Tokyo, Japan) and Takeshi Okada (The University of Tokyo, Japan)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0432-0.ch011


In this chapter, the authors showed that eyeblink synchronization enables researchers to investigate the appeal power of narrative performance empirically. The proposed method relies on the ability of audience members as epistemic agents to recognize and understand the performance. As spontaneous eyeblinks loosely co-vary with individual's allocation and release of attentions, the timings of eyeblinks could be entrained by the details of narrative performances as the common inputs. Thus, the standard basis accumulated by the collective eyeblink responses enables experimenter to judge whether or not a particular performance contains universal appeal to sense-making. Here, the authors introduced that the empirical studies to assess the appeal power of Rakugo (a traditional narrative performance). An expert artist, compared to a novice performer, created implicit breakpoints on participants' attentional process. It were discussed that the applicable scopes of the eyeblink relevant indices, upcoming research on eyeblink synchronization, and new research on human collective behaviors.
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Background: The Universal Structure Of Narrative Performance

The Common Elements of Narrative Performance

Narrative performance contains three elements as its essential nature: performer, script2, and audience. Grotowski (1968) speculated of the role of the theater audience: “Can theatre exist without audience? At least one spectator is needed to make it a performance” (p. 32). Also, Goodwin (1986) noted that “The meaning of the story will be found to have thus emerges not from the actions of the speaker alone, but rather as the product of a collaborative process of interaction in which the audience plays a very active role” (p.283) in a special issue of the journal Text titled “The Audience as Co-Author.” A script expressed by a performer becomes a performance thanks to their audience. A narrative performance is created as time elapses. A performer generates their performance through interactions between their own conditions and the atmosphere of the audience on that day. Therefore, no two performances are exactly the same, even if a storyline is prepared beforehand. Thus, every performance is created in improvised way to some extent. In order to investigate narrative performances empirically, researchers have to evaluate the performances in an objective way.

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